A former south London football coach and Croydon Council youth worker has been jailed for sexually abusing four schoolchildren over a 30-year period.
David Hughes, 66, targeted three of the children while working at youth clubs in New Addington and as a volunteer football coach between 1988 and 1995.
Other offenses were committed against a teenager between 2017 and 2018.
The Hughes abuse investigation came to light after a victim’s mother came forward in September 2018, telling police, “I want to report a pedophile.”
He was arrested in possession of a black tote containing children’s underwear in December 2018.
Today (25 November) Hughes was sentenced by Croydon Crown Court to ten years, including nine years in prison and one year on extended license.
He also received a Sexual Injury Prevention Order and was on the Sex Offender Registry for life.
Hughes had previously been convicted of ten 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 urging the same boy to engage in sexual activity.
Her youngest victim was only eight years old when the abuse began.
Wayne Groves, 42, came forward to reveal Hughes had treated him from the age of 11, giving him freebies including expensive football kits and going to the movies.
Hughes sexually assaulted Wayne at least five times after luring him into his home.
Wayne said those encounters continued for about two years until he lost interest in football and moved away from the area.
He said: “I never told anyone on the estate, it was an ongoing joke that he was a child predator, but no one ever mentioned it in a personal capacity.”
Although he lost contact with Hughes, the effects of the abuse haunted him throughout his life, as he suffered from PTSD and depression as a result.
Another eleven-year-old boy was given apple cider before being sexually assaulted.
The court also heard that Hughes would encourage young football players to wear shorts rather than sweatpants, and to wear briefs under their shorts rather than boxers.
He also rubbed cream such as heat deep into boys’ legs before games or training.
Stephanie Dodd, CPS, said: âDavid Hughes looked for young boys who loved football.
âHe took jobs where he could get closer to these kids and used their love and appreciation for a sport to heal and abuse them.
âHe showered them with athletic gifts like boots and tops. All the while he was in a position of trust betraying the very principles of his role.
âMany of these young schoolchildren said they felt powerless to stop the abuse at the time.
âThey have since come forward and provided strong testimony against their attacker, allowing the jury to convict him.
âDuring this time, Hughes showed little remorse.
When the allegations were first brought to him, he said: ‘I don’t recognize either of the two names, which is hardly surprising given that I have coached thousands of children over the years.
âThe SPC is absolutely committed to bringing sexual predators to justice, regardless of how long has passed since the offense.
“I hope this lawsuit will help bring comfort to the victims of this man.”
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