‘Inspirational’ conductor gets 24 years for child rapemain
A judge at Hove Crown Court today sentenced Jonathan Grieves-Smith to 24 years for abusing a girl for several years from the age of five, raping her repeatedly. Grieves-Smith, 57, was musical director of Brighton Festival Chorus from 1983 to 1998.
He was also a regular participant at Dartington Festival and Summer School.
Grieves-Smith had been living in Melbourne, Australia, at the time of his arrest. His Facebook friends include many of the leading lights of the choral, orchestral and festival sectors.
Full court report here. The details are distressing.
The judge said: ‘Many people speak highly of you. However the experience in these courts is that a lot of people of seemingly good character harbour secrets that their friends and family aren’t aware of.’
UPDATE: Statement from Sussex Police:
Detective Constable Lisa Wells of the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit, said; “Smith came to know his victim, then aged just five, in the late 1980s and this horrific abuse continued systematically, unbeknown to anyone else, for more than five years until he moved away from the area.
“She has suffered with the trauma and distress of what happened to her, in secret and it was not for more than a further 20 years that she felt strong enough to get in touch and share her experiences with us.
“We have admire her courage and resolution in supporting our investigation and the prosecution process. It took four years to ensure Smith’s return from Australia to face justice and she then gave evidence which helped ensure his conviction at court.
The victim said: “Jonathan Grieves-Smith’s behaviour towards me has fundamentally affected my life, and has also severely affected my family and friendships.
“The impact of what he did to me for so many years has caused me long term trauma in most aspects of my life, and for so long cast a terrible shadow over my reality, causing a ripple effect out to those who could see me struggling, haunted by something unseen, causing upset and pain all around. Keeping silent kept me in a cage of self-destruction.
“After many years into my adulthood, I was able to confide in my family, who every step of the way, have been loving and fully supportive. I was believed and heard, and I am so thankful to have my family know the truth.”