'Evil' ex-football coach Bob Higgins jailed for 24 years

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Former football coach Bob Higgins has been jailed for 24 years and three months for sexually abusing young football players over the course of 25 years.

The 66-year-old ran youth training programmes at Southampton and Peterborough football clubs, and was found guilty of 46 counts of indecent assault against a total of 24 teenage boys between 1971 and 1996.

Sentencing Higgins at Winchester Crown Court, Judge Peter Crabtree called him "predatory, cunning and manipulative".

As well as the prison sentence, Higgins was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register and was also banned from working with children and made subject to a supervision order on his release.

Judge Crabtree added that Higgins "carefully groomed" the boys by giving them gifts such as football shirts signed by professional players and trips to football matches.

He said: "You encouraged many of them to treat you as a father figure. For a number of boys who were brought up without a father and were vulnerable, this had a profound effect."

He was convicted of groping a number of his victims during post-exercise soapy massages as well as at his home and in his car.

Higgins was described as "pure evil" by one victim.

The defendant, who wore a hearing aid during proceedings, showed no emotion as the sentence was announced.

He was acquitted at a previous trial in the early 1990s which allowed him to return to his job and continue his abuse.

Southampton FC has issued an apology to the victims and said it had launched an investigation.

Read more

Police probe launched after swastikas drawn on commemorative bench

‘Monster of Worcester’ who killed three children freed from jail