Ex-Magpie is latest in series of alleged child abuse victims

LONDON • The escalating story of sexual abuse in English football is now threatening to take in Newcastle, after a former player contacted the police to allege he was another victim on the back of growing concerns about a possible paedophile ring in the sport.

The ex-player, whose identity is known to the Guardian, has named George Ormond as the offender, claiming that he was sexually abused by a man who has already had a six-year prison sentence for a string of convictions involving boys from the club's youth system over a 24-year period.

The complainant has been inspired to report the alleged abuse after the Guardian brought to light abuse suffered by former players elsewhere.

That began when the former Crewe Alexandra defender Andy Woodward waived his right to anonymity last week to reveal the harrowing accounts of the sexual abuse he endured from coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell.

Another former Crewe player, Steve Walters, followed suit to tell the Guardian a story of disturbing similarity.

David White, best known for his long association with Manchester City, has subsequently come forward to reveal he was another of Bennell's victims and another former England international, Paul Stewart, has said he was targeted by a separate man who was working in junior football in the Manchester area.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police told the Guardian: "We have received a report in relation to an allegation of historic (sic) sexual offences in Newcastle. We are working closely with, and supporting, the victim and enquiries are ongoing."

Ormond was branded a "predatory abuser" by the judge at Newcastle crown court when he was imprisoned, aged 46, in 2002 at the end of a trial that heard how a man once regarded as a highly respected coach in youth circles used his standing to bring youngsters under his power.

His case has similarities in that respect with Bennell's time as a youth-team coach at Crewe and White's ordeal at Whitehill FC, a junior team affiliated to Manchester City.

Bennell, who also had links with Stoke City, coached sides in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire, but it is only now that the full extent of his crimes is becoming apparent.

Woodward believes there could be hundreds of victims and a new National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children hotline for footballers, backed by the Football Association, received more than 50 calls in the first two hours.

Last week two other former players, speaking to the Guardian, independently named another man from the football world who had abused them, and Cheshire police reported on Wednesday that 11 people had contacted them to talk about Bennell's case.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-Magpie is latest in series of alleged child abuse victims'. Print Edition | Subscribe