A former Olympic athlete has been jailed for having sex with a vulnerable 14-year-old girl – paying her £25 a time.
David Smith, 41, repeatedly had consensual but unprotected sex with the underage youngster girl in return for payment over a four-month period in 2013.
Smith, who represented GB in the hammer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, paid her by supplying cannabis or gave her £25 for sex or £10 for other acts.
Grimsby Crown Court heard that he claimed he thought the girl was aged 16 but on at least two encounters she was wearing her school uniform.
Ranked as Britain’s number one hammer thrower in 2002, Smith’s fall from grace included creating an online profile where he met the 14-year-old girl involved in the case.
He had also come into contact with another girl who claimed to be 15 on the site but was in fact much younger.
On his profile, Smith, of Grimsby, claimed to be a 26-year-old model photographer.
The court heard disturbing conversations between Smith and the youngster including when he said to her: “You’re young and horny, just the way I like it.
“Are you 16? At least it is legal then.”
After one of the encounters, Smith said: “That’s it, I have got to get off. You have earned your money.”
Several of the meetings between Smith and his victim happened during her lunch break or before school with one encounter occurring in his work van.
Smith made no comment when first interviewed by police but later pleaded guilty. The victim, who is now 16, did not comply with the police’s investigation.
Jeremy Evans from the Crown Prosecution Service said Smith regarded the encounters as nothing more than a transaction and acted in a derogatory and dismissive manner.
He said: “The defendant pleaded guilty to six charges of obtaining the sexual services of a child.
“He met his victim online and proceeded to take advantage of her vulnerability.
“He arranged a number of meetings with her during which sexual activity occurred in return for payment.
“The activity was filmed on his mobile phone on a number of occasions. The victim, who was 14 years old at the time of the offences, was demeaned and exploited.”
He added: “The sentence handed down emphasises that we will not tolerate the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in any form and we will continue to prosecute those who seek out children online for sexual gratification.”
Smith, who retired from hammer throwing in 2003 following the death of his father and the break-up of his marriage, had no previous convictions.
Saleem Khan, mitigating, said Smith had a mental disorder and had turned to drink and drugs but was intent of getting his athletics career back on track.
Mr Khan said: “This is some fall from grace. He misused alcohol and drugs to replicate the euphoria of competing.”
Judge David Tremberg told Smith that ignorance of the law was not an excuse.
He said: “You claimed you did not know it was an offence to pay for sex with a child, but ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
“You committed offences against the backdrop of indifference of the girl’s age. You showed a reckless disregard for the law of the land.
“What is clear is that you treated her as a common prostitute for your own sexual gratification. This caused her to treat prostituting herself with a man old enough to be her father as a normal part of everyday life.”
Smith was sentenced to two years in prison and has also been given a ten-year sexual harm and protection order, which prohibits him from living with a child under the age of 16.