Victim of ex-Peterborough United coach believes there are more victims who have not come forward
A man abused by paedophile ex Peterborough United coach Bob Higgins said he believes there are more victims who have not yet come forward.
Greg Llewellyn was the only victim to gain a conviction of indecent assault against the former Southampton Football Club coach during the first trial in 2018.
The 50-year-old said he had been left with life-long feelings of shame and guilt along with a sense of disbelief over the death of fellow complainant Billy Seymour, who he believes might be still alive if the outcome of last year’s trial had been different.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard that Mr Llewellyn was abused in the defendant’s car around the time of his 14th birthday when he was a junior player at Southampton.
Waiving his right to anonymity to speak to the Press Association, Mr Llewellyn said he was now pursuing civil action against Higgins as a result of the abuse which had left him suffering flashbacks.
He said: “There are a number of common traits that people suffer from, a lot of anger, a lot of guilt, shame.
“Obviously having a very unpleasant experience at a difficult age as a pubescent boy conjures up all sorts of different questions in your own mind, whether it was initiated by you, something you contributed to and could have stopped, questions your own sexuality as you had an experience with another man.
“I know a lot of the older guys have a great sense of guilt that they were not able to stop the abuse that happened to them before it happened or after it happened to go to police and stop it from happening to other people they knew and had a career in football with.”
He added: “I am convinced there are many more people who have suffered at the hands of Higgins and I hope that they find the strength to come forward.”
Mr Llewellyn, who has gone on to forge a successful career in business, said: “I have dealt with my demons some time ago, I am emotionless with regards to Higgins, I just hope for the other guys who are not quite as progressed on their healing journey.
“Some have disclosed details only to the police and no-one else and are still trying to come to terms with it.”
He added: “There are some very, very profound results of what happened, it caused me many difficulties in relationships, marriage, none of those positive, some incredibly negative outcomes.
“It doesn’t disappear because there are always circumstances or scenarios that remind you of what happened and that won’t ever change but I have managed to develop coping mechanisms.
“There are certain things that happen that remind me of my time as a young junior player at Southampton FC.”
Mr Llewellyn said although the responsibility for the abuse lies with Higgins, he believes Southampton FC could have done more to protect the young players.
“Whilst it was a very different time in football the fact that Higgins had total carte blanche control over everything that happened with the entire under 16 and downward structure of the club allowed him to do the things he did and that simply wouldn’t happen today.
“I can’t hold the club responsible but you have to point the finger and there was some negligence there but there was only one perpetrator.”
Mr Llewellyn said cannot agree with descriptions of Higgins as a “fantastic coach”.
“The number one, the paramount responsibility and trait of a football coach is to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the people you are coaching and he failed at the very first hurdle so I am afraid I have no positive words to say about him.
“There is no doubt he had a very persuasive and controlling personality which enabled him to manipulate people for his own ends and needs.”
Mr Llewellyn said the death of Mr Seymour in a crash involving a drink-driver in January was a “deeply tragic story” and he believes he would still be alive if the outcome of the 2018 trial had been different.
“It’s just a tragic, tragic story - almost surreal to be honest - he was certainly one with the worst effects on his life in terms of the negative outcomes that came from the abuse.
“Billy had some demons and there is no doubt about that and problems in his life, it’s such a contradiction because he was actually a very gentle, warm lovely guy.
“I am absolutely convinced that if the trial last year had a different outcome that what happened to Billy wouldn’t have happened, I think he would have been in a different place, in a different mindset and wouldn’t have ended up in a car with a relative stranger and ultimately that causing his death.
“Any positive outcome is somewhat hollow because he’s not around.”