Football coach in sex trial apologised to 'victim', court told

One of the alleged victims of "paedophile" football coach Bob Higgins has said the defendant later apologised to him and said he had "found God".

Higgins, 65, who ran youth team coaching for Southampton FC and Peterborough United, is on trial at Salisbury Crown Court accused of 50 counts of indecent assault against 24 complainants dating between 1971 and 1996.

In a video interview shown to the jury, the alleged victim who cannot be named but was referred to as Complainant A, told police the defendant abused him when he was 13.

Bob Higgins
Bob Higgins

The complainant, who was not involved in football, sobbed as he recalled the alleged abuse.

He said: "I lost my virginity at the hands of Robert Francis Higgins.

"I was 13 or 14, I knew nothing about sex. I can't remember the hows and the whys of when it started - I blacked that out in my head, I just do not want to regress to that - I just know I ended up in his bed.

"It felt uncomfortable, it didn't feel right. I knew in my heart it was totally wrong."

Complainant A told police he later saw the defendant who apologised to him.

"He leaned over me and said, 'I am sorry'. Not, 'I am sorry for abusing you', just, 'I am sorry, I found God and I need to say I am sorry'.

"I went absolutely ballistic, I was going to swing for him."

Asked why he thought Higgins apologised to him, Complainant A said: "Because he knew what happened, he knew that happened and he knew he needed to apologise."

He added that on another occasion he almost attacked Higgins with an axe because of his anger.

He said: "I could have done him harm. He did me harm in that bedroom, he totally took my virginity."

Adam Feest QC, prosecuting, has told the jury that Higgins is a "predatory paedophile" who carried out a "systematic campaign of sexual abuse" of teenage boys between 1971 and 1996.

Higgins, of Southampton, denies the charges and the trial continues.

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