A former BBC driver charged with sex offences as part of the investigation triggered by allegations of abuse against Jimmy Savile has been found dead at his home.
The cause of death is not yet known and a post-mortem examination will take place.
David Smith, 66, who was the first person to be charged under Operation Yewtree, failed to attend Southwark Crown Court in London for the start of his trial yesterday.
A warrant was issued ordering Smith to turn up at court today – but when officers arrived at his home in Lewisham, south east London, they found a body.
Smith had faced two counts of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child, and one of buggery, all relating to a 12-year-old boy, between June 1 and July 21, 1984.
The BBC reported that it was alleged that Smith met his victim at a swimming pool and invited him back to his flat, where he sexually abused him.
He also took the boy on a visit to the BBC studios at White City in west London. The boy claimed he was indecently assaulted during the journey.
The victim’s partner contacted police after she saw his response to the ITV documentary 'Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile', which was broadcast last October.
Smith was a prolific sex offender whose first conviction was in 1966. He had 22 convictions for sexual offences against young boys, the BBC report said.
Scotland Yard said: “Police attended a private address in Effingham Road, Lewisham, on Monday 28 October as a man had failed to appear at Southwark Crown Court.
“At approximately 14.20, officers entered the address and found the body of a man. An FME (forensic medical examiner) attended and pronounced the man dead at the scene. Next of kin are being informed.
“Whilst officers believe they know the identity of the deceased, they await confirmation of formal identification.”
Smith’s counsel, Sandy Canavan, had told the court she was “concerned” that her solicitor had been unable to contact him ahead of the trial as she had regularly been in touch with him. She told the court Smith was the sole carer for his elderly mother.
Operation Yewtree is the UK investigation prompted after claims were made against disgraced TV presenter Savile.
Scotland Yard has led the probe, and separated its inquiries into those involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others. Smith was investigated under the “others” strand.