Disgraced former Wendover cricket coach stripped of OBE

Leslie Smith
Leslie Smith

A sexual abuse victim has won his campaign to have a disgraced former cricket coach stripped of his OBE.

Leslie Smith, of Wendover, was jailed last year for committing two sexual assaults against his victim, who was only a teenager at the time, between 1985 and 1986.

Since then his victim, now 43, has striven to see Smith stripped of the honour and was pleased to see this happen in an official announcement on Tuesday.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, took up the mission following Smith’s sentencing in April.

He said: “Having it removed was something that I strongly believed in but no-one else was going to do it for me. It has been a very slow process. I have had to write to all these organisations with the details of my case and what happened to me.

“All the effort and hard work that’s gone into the preparation of the case has finally paid off. Having the Queen remove an honour is the ultimate fall from grace.”

Smith received his OBE in 1994 for services to the rail industry through his position as MD of Trainload Freight.

He was a coach at Wendover Cricket Club and recruited his victim to the club at the age of 12 after he was spotted playing for his school. From the age of 13, he was groomed by Smith, often plied with alcohol and shown hardcore pornography at Smith’s home.

The two incidents for which he was convicted happened on a train to Scotland and at Smith’s home after the victim had turned 16.

Awards such as an OBE are taken away following discussions by the Honours Forfeiture Committee, which reports to the cabinet office.

A cabinet office spokesman said: “The committee’s role is to uphold the integrity of the honours system. Wherever there is evidence that an individual has brought the system into disrepute they will take action.”

Smith’s victim is not stopping at seeing his OBE taken away. He has been pushing the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Marylebone Cricket Club, both of which Smith is a member, to take action and has joined forces with Aylesbury MP David Lidington to see it happen.

It is thought the ECB has held a disciplinary hearing in relation to Smith, but the man says they have refused to reveal the outcome. The MCC is thought to have a hearing scheduled. Neither body responded to a request for comment by time of going to press.

Smith’s victim said: “It would be nice for the ECB and MCC to be shown to take a strong stand in a child protection case.”

Despite being sentenced to 18 months in jail, Smith was released after nine months and his victim has concerns about seeing him again.

The man, who lives in Aylesbury, said: “There are rules in place so if he comes anywhere near me he’ll get into a whole load of trouble. He’s the one that has to take evasive action if we are in the same place.”