Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Ex-National Wrestling Coach Jailed For Sexually Abusing Young Team Member

A former national wrestling coach, who sexually preyed upon a young member of his team three decades ago, was jailed for four years yesterday.

One-time coach for the British Amateur Wrestling Association James Watson, 63, of The Cedars, Dunstable, Bedfordshire struck when the young boy and his team mates stayed at his home before travelling to bouts all over the country in the 1980's.

He pleaded guilty at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court to two counts of gross indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault on dates between December 1980 and December 1985 at his former home in Rodney Street, Mitcham.

The abuse occurred when the victim was aged between nine and fourteen years-old and the now-married 44 year-old was prepared to give evidence against Glasgow-born Watson until he finally accepted his guilt on the first day of the trial.

He was not reported at the time and went on to be convicted of abusing boys in the Liverpool and Bolton areas, receiving a seven-year sentence.

Prosecutor Mr. Andrew Collings told the court the victim contacted the police on May 28, 2013 to report sexual abuse by his former wrestling coach.

He and others stayed at the defendant's house the night before competitions and would go on training runs, after which the defendant would suggest the victim take a shower and have a sports massage.

The young boy would lie naked on the bathroom floor and the defendant would start massaging one leg and make contact with his penis as he moved to the other leg.”

This behaviour escalated to Watson masturbating the youngster and performing oral sex on him.

He would also share the defendant's bed with regularity, while three to four members of the club slept in the spare room and it was seen as an 'honour' to be selected.”

Similar intimate abuse occurred in the bedroom until the boy eventually quit the wrestling team.

In a victim impact statement he recalled feeling “ashamed and embarrassed” and “used and abused”, adding the offending had also caused stress within his marriage.

Watson's lawyer Miss Nicola Shannon reminded the court his last sexual offence was committed in 1998. “He's a man in very poor health and is not a man who is an ongoing risk to the community.”

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