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Football coach Bob Higgins jailed for 24 years for abusing trainees

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Solent News & Photo Agency

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Bob Higgins had denied molesting boys over a period of 25 years

A former youth football coach has been jailed for 24 years and three months for abusing young players.

Bob Higgins sexually touched and groped 24 victims, most of them trainees at Southampton FC and Peterborough United.

In May, Higgins, 66, was found guilty at a retrial of 45 counts of indecent assault between 1971 and 1996. He was convicted of another count last year.

Victims told Winchester Crown Court of suicidal thoughts and relationship problems later in life.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Crabtree described Higgins as a “cunning and manipulative” serial sex abuser who “carefully groomed” the teenagers in a predatory manner.

During Higgins’ trial, prosecutors told the court he was “idolised” by trainees, who viewed him as a mentor and father figure.

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.

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