Football coach George Ormond found guilty of sexually abusing 18 boys
Former coaching assistant at Newcastle United exploited victims dreamings of becoming professional players
The former boys football coach-and-four and Newcastle United coaching deputy George Ormond has been is guilty of committing 36 countings of sexual abuse against 18 victims over a 24 -year period between 1973 and 1997.
The jury of six women and five men, who heard proof from 50 witnesses during the six-week trial at Newcastle crown court, took two days to return the verdicts.
The jury returned not guilty verdicts on one charge of buggery and one of indecent assault.
Ormond, who was described as a predatory paedophile by Northumbria police, committed the crimes when he was a prominent coach at the boys club from 1973, and from 1993 to 1997, when he was assisting with Newcastle Uniteds youth coaching.
The victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came forward to police and gave proof in tribunal of being abused by Ormond.
The victims, some of whom broke down and sobbed when devoting their proof, all said they did not tell anybody for years about the abuse they had suffered. Many said they had feels ashamed and embarrassed, and were worried they would be ridiculed and not believed. They said they were intimidated by the power and influence Ormond wielded on their prospects of a career in professional football.
One victim told Ormond warned him to keep quiet, telling him: Ive got your dreamings in my hand. If you say anything, I will crush them.
Det Supt Mick Paterson, of Northumbria police, appointed 11 officers to the investigation after victim Derek Bell waived his anonymity and spoke publicly about it in November 2016. He praised the main victims who devoted evidence. George Ormond is a sexual predator, a predatory paedophile, he said.
Paterson added: He preyed upon his position of trust with young men who had aspirations and dreams of footballing success and careers, and he used that hold as a kingmaker to allow him further access to more victims to abuse them. That is insidious and the worst breach of trust.
I commend the main victims who came forward and told us what happened; it allowed us to pursue a very large investigation and bring George Ormond to account. They are very, very brave men who should be held up to other victims out there. Policing has come a long way and we can support people on their difficult journey of coming forward.
Paterson accepted that Northumbria polices reply was inadequate in 1997, when the force did not analyse after the first allegations against Ormond were stimulated. Bell, who was abused by Ormond while playing for the boys club in the 1970 s, told a Newcastle United physiotherapist, Paul Ferris, in the spring of 1997, but said he did not want to go to the police. Ferris nevertheless informed a senior police officer, but told the trial that the policeman had said the police could not take action, as Bell did not want to make a formal complaint.
Ferris also informed John Carver, then a senior Newcastle United youth coach who in 2015 became the club director. Carver told the court he had not been sure what to do and Ormond remained involved until 1998, when Carver told him he had to leave due to a new requirement for coaching qualifications.
Paterson told the Guardian that police practice at the time wasnt adequate, because it relied too much on victims initially being prepared to make statements. It had been a missed possibility in 1997, he said.
It is regrettable that George Ormond went on and abused after that. All I can really tell as the head of safeguarding now, my approach would be very, very different.
Newcastle Uniteds reaction in 1997 to being first notified of the allegations against Ormond is being considered by Clive Sheldon QC, who is conducting an inquiry for the Football Association for the purpose of determining whether clubs managed allegations of sexual abuse appropriately.
Following the verdict, Newcastle United did not make any comment, except for a spokesman saying that the club has cooperated fully with the police and FA inquiries.
Bell told the Guardian he was pleased that Northumbria police had now conducted a full investigation but he believed they should have investigated more fully in 1997, and in 2000, when he did first make a formal complaint about Ormond. In 2002 Ormond was convicted of 13 countings of indecent assault against Bell and six other victims, all while they were playing for the sons club. Paterson accepted that police then appear to have conducted little further investigation of Ormonds activities, including at Newcastle United.
During this trial, Ormond opted not to give evidence himself. His barrister, Rebecca Trowler QC, had told the jury that he denied that any of the alleged abuse or incidents took place, and accused many of the victims of lying. The prosecuting barrister, Sharon Beattie, had described Ormond as a classic groomer and manipulator of young people, especially exploiting his influence on their football prospects.
The trial judge, Edward Bindloss, ought to be able to sentence Ormond later this week.