Former youth football coach, Bob Higgins 66 has been jailed for 24 years and three months for abusing young players. He was found guilty at a retrial at Winchester Crown Court of 45 counts of indecent assault between 1971-1996 and in addition to the one count last year.
Judge Peter Crabtree called Higgins a “predatory, cunning” serial sex abuser who “carefully groomed” the teenagers. His victims told Winchester Crown Court of suicidal thoughts and relationship problems later in life.
Higgins sexually touched and groped 24 victims, most of them trainees at Southampton FC and Peterborough United. Victims said they were abused during post-exercise soapy massages, in Higgins’ car while he played love songs on the stereo and at his home where he cuddled with boys on his sofa.
An emotional statement, read by Dean Radford on behalf of the victims on the steps of the court, said:
Higgins’ “arrogance was his downfall”. “You can call us brave, you can call us courageous – we were not – we were the unlucky ones for falling into the entrapment of Higgins’ manipulative, deceitful and sexual behaviour,”
The allegations arose after the NSPCC set up a dedicated helpline for people who had encountered childhood abuse within football. It was launched after a number of former footballers, including Billy Seymour, spoke on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme in November 2016.
If you have been affected by anything in this article and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094 or you can request a call back.