Football coach Bob Higgins ‘abused youth player 100 times‘

A youth football coach repeatedly performed sex acts with a trainee while the boy stayed at his home, a court has heard.

The ex-trainee said Bob Higgins abused him 100 times over a two-year period.

Mr Higgins, 66, is accused of sexually touching 24 boys, mostly Southampton and Peterborough United youth players, between 1971 and 1996.

He denies 51 indecent assault charges at his retrial at Bournemouth Crown Court.

The former trainee told the court he was 13 when Mr Higgins initially abused him on a trip by putting his hand down his shorts.

“I was in shock. You think to yourself ‘What should I do?‘ I couldn‘t bring myself to tell anybody,” he told jurors.

He said on later occasions at the defendant‘s home, the “sexual business would be encouraged to start” as soon as Mr Higgins‘ wife went to bed.

The sex acts became increasingly invasive and painful, the complainant told the court.

The ex-trainee said he went along with them because he feared he might otherwise jeopardise a future career in football.

He added that he was encouraged to call Mr Higgins “Dad”.

Under cross-examination, he confirmed that his family invited the defendant to an event, some years after the alleged abuse had taken place.

Alistair MacDonald QC, defending, said: “There isn‘t a chance in a million, a billion, that you would have [invited] a man who had done these terrible things.”

The complainant replied: “I was still in denial. I didn‘t want it to come out.”

Referring to the alleged abuse at Mr Higgins‘ home, Mr MacDonald asked: “Is the truth that it just never happened?”

The former trainee said: “I‘m telling you 100 per cent, it did happen.”

The trial continues.