A depraved football coach who molested four boys in the 1980s and 1990s has been jailed for nine years.
David Hughes, 66, who worked at youth clubs in New Addington, south London, was convicted of 14 non-recent sexual offences against four children aged between eight and 15.
A court heard how he preyed on his victims by showering them with gifts such as football shirts and boots before carrying out his vile attacks while working at youth clubs in New Addington, south London between 1988 and 1995.
Hughes groomed one boy by treating him to a trip to the cinema to see Jurassic Park in 1993 as well as giving him attention and other gifts. The football coach sexually assaulted another while on an organised camping trip.
Further offences were committed in 2017 and 2018 independently of his employment.
A court previously heard how police launched an investigation into Hughes after a mother of one of his victims told officers in September 2018: ‘I want to report a paedophile.’
Hughes was caught with a black holdall containing children’s underwear when he was finally arrested on December 21, 2018. Similar items of clothing were found during a search of his address. He was charged in February 2020.
A jury at Croydon Crown Court found Hughes 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 aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity.
The first 10 offences took place between 1988 and 1995, when Hughes was employed at youth clubs and worked as a voluntary football coach.
Hughes was sentenced yesterday to nine years’ imprisonment plus a one-year extended sentence during which he will be managed by probation. He was also handed a lifetime stringent Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Detective Constable Pete Brewster, from the Metropolitan Police’s Central Specialist Crime Unit, said: ‘In committing these offences Hughes demonstrated premeditated, predatory behaviour spanning almost 30 years.
‘Hughes worked as a youth worker and children’s football coach in New Addington throughout the 1980s and 1990s, seeking employment and other opportunities that granted him access to children. He should have been someone the children, and their families, could trust.
‘Hughes betrayed this trust, abusing vulnerable children who described feeling unable, ashamed and embarrassed to tell anyone what he had done to them.
‘Those who suffered at the hands of Hughes in the 1990s describe how his offending continues to affect them today and say their reports to police in 2018 and 2019 were an important step in ”moving on” with their lives.
‘It is only through the bravery of all of the victims in this case to report the abuse they suffered and support the police investigation that Hughes has been convicted of these offences.
‘If you have been the victim of abuse, no matter how long ago, please report it to police so we can help you.’
Stephanie Dodd, from the Crown Prosecution Service, added: ‘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. 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.
‘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.”