'The charming old child abuser next-door': Smyth neighbours get letterbox warning

A letter naming John Smyth as a “charming old child abuser” has been hand-delivered to his neighbours.

The letter is signed by Gert van Tonder‚ and the address at the top is given as Dignity‚ 4 Queen Victoria Road‚ Claremont — the site of a townhouse development‚ Victoria Mews.

Accompanying the letter was a copy of an article about Smyth from The Telegraph‚ headlined “Archbishop of Canterbury apologises after links to ‘child abuser’ emerge”.

Smyth has been in hiding at his Bergvliet home‚ where all the curtains are drawn‚ since a TV documentary was broadcast in the UK a week ago‚ claiming he administered savage beatings to 22 teenage boys at Christian holiday camps in the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

A report into the former lawyer’s activities was allegedly hushed up by the church charity that ran the camps‚ and in 1984 he left the UK for Zimbabwe. There‚ he was charged with culpable homicide after a 16-year-old drowned at a Christian holiday camp he was running.

The charges were dropped and he moved to South Africa in 2001‚ launching the Justice Alliance five years later and going on to campaign on topics such as pornography‚ the age of consent‚ euthanasia and gun laws.

The letter to neighbours begins “Dear John Smyth‚ sado-masochist”‚ and says: “All the churches and schools and SAPS have been informed about you‚ so your days are numbered dear and you will have to leave SA.

“Parents of kids in your neighbourhood have also been warned about the charming old child abuser in the name of ‘God’.”

A crew led by Channel 4 presenter Cathy Newman attempted to confront Smyth at his home on Tuesday but he did not answer. He has not responded to numerous requests for comment.

The Justice Alliance board asked Smyth‚ 75‚ to step down as director last week‚ and Church-on-Main in Wynberg asked him and his wife‚ Anne‚ to stay away. Pastor Andrew Thomson said he was “broken” at having to admit that the church had used Smyth to counsel male university students.


- TMG Digital





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