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Newcastle United youth coach convicted of abusing young players

George Ormond assisted at the Premier League side in the 1990s.

A predatory paedophile who worked with Newcastle United’s youth set-up has been convicted of sexually abusing boys as young as 11 over almost 25 years.

In the 1970s and 1980s, George Ormond coached at a prominent junior club in the city before assisting at the Premier League side in the 1990s, and he used his power over his victims’ football futures to prevent them from speaking out.

He was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of 35 charges of indecent assault and one of indecency. He was cleared of one charge relating to an older Newcastle United player.

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The former Newcastle United part-time youth coach’s offences spanned 25 years (Northumbria Police/PA)

The trial saw 19 complainants give evidence following an investigation which was sparked in 2016 by media reports of professional football’s sex abuse scandal.

Ormond, 62, had already been jailed for six years in 2002 for 12 indecent assaults on young players.

Former Newcastle United player Derek Bell gave evidence in those court proceedings and spoke out two years ago, prompting more ex-players to come forward.

Outside court, he said: “I waived my anonymity in November 2016 because I knew George Ormond was a predatory paedophile and that there must be more victims out there.

“If one person had come forward I would have felt I had done my job; the fact that so many victims came forward, and he has now been found guilty of 36 offences over 24 years, shows just how many people were affected.

“The fact that a number of the victims came forward after November 2016 shows that difficult as it is, in the right circumstances, when people are ready, speaking out is very important and can encourage other people to deal with their trauma and bring sexual offenders to justice.

“It has been a long 16 months, with ups and downs, but the fact that we are here today makes it all worthwhile.”

Former Newcastle United manager John Carver used a ruse to get rid of Ormond in the late 1990s when he heard an allegation that the once-trusted voluntary kit man, bus driver and general helper had abused Mr Bell.

Mr Carver, who was then centre of excellence director, told the court it took him some time to remove Ormond, using an excuse about him not having the relevant qualifications.

He had heard the allegation second-hand from physio Paul Ferris and was told that a senior officer involved in policing St James’s Park matches had been informed.

Northumbria Police said it could not verify what happened to that report and has admitted this may have been a missed opportunity to catch Ormond earlier.

Ormond had become involved with youth teams at Newcastle United after doing well at a local club.

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Ormond was present at the Premier League club in the 1990s, the court heard (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He appeared popular with youngsters, often joining in their banter and joking inappropriately about sex.

Sharon Beattie, prosecuting, said: “Throughout that 20-year period he worked with young boys and young men and to many of them he would have been in a position of trust.

“He appeared to be someone who was a figure of authority and influence and this was something he at times cynically manipulated to his own advantage.”

When he coached at the local junior team, he would insist on the youngsters not wearing underpants for games and would check to make sure the rules were followed.

The printer, who was married at the time, went on to sexually abuse some boys at training camps and others in the back of his car, gaining parents’ trust to get access to the boys.

He would indecently touch victims while claiming to be treating injuries and at other times performed sex acts on himself in front of them.

One victim recalled him saying: “I have got your dreams in my hand, if you say anything I will crush them.”

Another remembered him saying: “You want to continue playing football for me, that’s the way things have to be.”

A former Newcastle United player came forward to say he had been abused after he saw ex-pro Andy Woodward tearfully speaking on television about the ordeal he had suffered at the hands of paedophile coach Barry Bennell.

He told the court how Ormond had come to his room and masturbated beside him and urged him to join in, and that two years later Ormond groped him in his van.

The jury of 11 cleared Ormond of indecent assault in relation to that complainant.

The player had explained how Mr Woodward’s appearance on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show moved him to make his complaint.

The player said: “As soon as I saw him alone on the sofa, explaining he had been raped, I felt I had to do that, I have to tell my story about what happened.”

Newcastle United declined to comment but the club said it has fully co-operated with police and FA inquiries.

Ormond was remanded in custody to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.

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