A former football coach and youth worker in Croydon has been jailed after he was found guilty of sexually abusing four schoolboys.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) described on Thursday (November 25) how 66-year-old David Hughes targeted three of the children when he worked in youth clubs in New Addington.
The former coach also did so while working in a voluntary capacity as a football coach between 1988 and 1995. Further offences took place on a teenager between 2017 and 2018.
Hughes was sentenced Thursday at Croydon Crown Court to 10 years, comprising of nine years in jail and one year on extended licence. He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and put on the sex offenders register for life.
He was previously found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault on three boys aged eight to 13, two counts of sexual activity with a boy aged 13 to 15 and two counts of causing the same boy to engage in sexual activity.
The police investigation into Hughes’ abuse unravelled after the mother of one victim came forward to speak to police in September 2018, telling officers: “I want to report a paedophile.”
It emerged that the youngest victim was just eight years old when the abuse began.
The court heard that Hughes would encourage the young football players to wear shorts rather than tracksuit bottoms and for them to wear briefs under their shorts rather than boxers.
In December 2018 Hughes was arrested and in his possession he had a black holdall with children’s underwear.
“David Hughes sought out young boys who loved football. He took up jobs where he could get close to these children and used their love and appreciation of a sport to groom and abuse them,” Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS London South’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit Stephanie Dodd said.
“He showered them with sporting gifts such as boots and tops. All the while, he was in a position of trust betraying the very principles of his role. Many of these young schoolboys described feeling powerless to stop the abuse at the time. They have since come forward and provided strong witness testimony against their abuser allowing the jury to convict him.
“Meanwhile Hughes has shown little remorse. When the allegations were first put to him, he said ‘I don’t recognise either name which is hardly surprising given that I have coached thousands of children over years.’…The CPS is absolutely committed to bringing sexual predators to justice regardless of the passage of time since the offending. I hope this prosecution goes some way to comfort the victims of this man,” she added.