George Ormond: Former Newcastle United football coach jailed for 20 years for abusing boys

'Evidence called in this trial showed that, over a 25 year period, George Ormond was a man wholly preoccupied with sex, who used his position as a respected football coach to target boys and young men in his care'

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 04 July 2018 18:30 BST
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George Ormond, 62, was found guilty of 36 charges relating to the abuse of 18 victims between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s
George Ormond, 62, was found guilty of 36 charges relating to the abuse of 18 victims between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s

A former youth football coach who assisted with training at Newcastle United has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing boys over a 25 year period.

George Ormond “used his position of power” to abuse 18 boys and young men between 1973 and 1998, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Ormond, now 62, used his power over his victims’ future football careers to stop them from speaking out, the jury was told.

He who acted as a kit man at the premiership club in the 1990s, used his trusted position in the football community to “groom and manipulate” boys and young men, the court heard.

Ormond, who has previously been convicted and jailed for similar offences, was convicted of 35 offences of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child, in relation to 18 victims.

He was cleared of one charge of buggery and one indecent assault charge.

Judge Edward Bindloss said Ormond must sign the sex offenders register for life, adding: “Evidence called in this trial showed that, over a 25 year period, George Ormond was a man wholly preoccupied with sex, who used his position as a respected football coach to target boys and young men in his care, to whom he was in a position of trust, to groom and manipulate and sexually assault.”

He added that it was clear some of the victims did not want to relive their terrible ordeals to a court full of strangers.

“No-one listening to this trial could fail to have been moved by the complainants and other witnesses, over six weeks of evidence, largely men in their 50s, largely from working class and sporting backgrounds, speaking with quiet, calm dignity about how they failed to understand what was happening to them and how, because of the times they lived in and the circumstances of their lives, meant they were unable to speak about it," he said.

“Victim after victim” discussed the shame and embarrassment they live with so many years later, he added.

“Some of your victims, you said you didn't even remember. What was for you momentary sexual gratification was, for your victims, a lifetime of difficulty."

One victim said the offending left him a “broken man” and added: “Football was everything to me. This dream turned into a living nightmare.”

Others described the lifelong effects the sexual ordeals have had on their lives which included feelings of guilt for not speaking up sooner, shame and embarrassment.

Jurors heard the once “popular” coach was involved in youth teams in the north east of England and left his role at Newcastle United, as a volunteer kit man, bus driver and general helper, in the mid 1990s after an allegation about his conduct.

Footballer and manager John Carver told the court during the trial it was a conversation with colleague Paul Ferris, a former player and physiotherapist, who had been approached by an alleged victim about an allegation of abuse against Ormond, that led to him leaving his volunteer role at Newcastle United.

Mr Carver told jurors: “When I found out I was extremely shocked. Paul Ferris had been told in the strictest of confidence and I wasn't quite sure, initially, how to react. Obviously I trusted George.”

Mr Carver said no action was taken immediately but it was clear he had to get Ormond out of Newcastle United.

He told jurors: “I needed time to digest it, needed to try and find a way of getting George out of the football club, that's what we had to do. It was around about the time the FA were bringing in qualifications. I used that as an opportunity to ask George if he was going to take coaching qualifications further.

“His response was that he was not. He never made any fuss when I said, 'you are going to have to leave'. He left that night when we had the conversation and I didn't see him again.”

The court heard Ormond left his role at the club in the 1990s after the allegations came to light.

Prosecutor Sharon Beattie said in 2000 the same male who had made the complaint to the club made a formal complaint to the authorities, alongside “a few others”.

The court heard Ormond stood trial for and was convicted of sexual offences in 2002 as a result. Then, he was jailed for six years for offences on seven boys.

Miss Beattie told jurors some of the complainants in the current case were aware of the previous allegations Ormond faced but did not come forward at the time.

She said the reasons for that included some chose to “bury what happened”, some were “embarrassed” and some “even felt guilty about what had happened to them”.

The court heard in 2016, following a media article about abuse in football, an NSPCC helpline was set up.

Miss Beattie told the court: “As a result, really, of that and the publicity, these complainants came forward, either through the helpline or directly to the police.”

She added: “Some felt able to now tell what had happened, some had children of their own, which affected whether or not they felt it was right to come forward, some simply felt that they just should.”

Miss Beattie said Ormond had been “trusted by those who he worked for and with” during the time of the allegations.

​Children’s charity the NSPCC urged victims to come forward via its football abuse helpline on 0800 023 2642.

A spokesperson said: “This is the latest case of a football professional sickeningly exploiting his position of trust to sexually abuse young boys who dreamed of a career in the sport. Many of his victims suffered in silence for years out of fear they would not be believed but their immense courage in speaking out has now helped bring their abuser to justice.”

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