Victims of paedophile ex Peterborough United coach could sue club

Victims of paedophile ex-Peterborough United youth coach Bob Higgins could sue Peterborough United and Southampton FC, a solicitor has clamied.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 5:39 pm
Hampshire Constabulary photo of the police interview of 'predatory paedophile' ex-football coach Bob Higgins who has been found guilty of 45 charges of indecent assault against 23 teenage boys. Hampshire Constabulary/PA Wire

Yesterday Higgins was convicted of 45 counts of indecent assault on trainees at the two clubs.

Today Dino Nocivelli, from solicitor’s firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, who is representing a number of the victims, said: “The feeling at the moment is mainly relief. For many of them, this is the second criminal trial, and their is a great deal of relief he has been found guilty.

“We are now looking at civil actions against the two clubs. Yesterday was about Bob Higgins and what he has done, but now it has to be about the survivors.

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“One of the men told me that as soon as Bob Higgins touched him, his life went down a different path.

“All they wanted to do was play football. The action would be against the clubs - while management and people have come and gone, it was the club as a legal identity who employed him.

“But the ball is in the club’s court. If they take responsibility and do the right thing, civil court cases could be avoided.

“At the moment neither club has even apologised and said sorry.

“This has impacted on the survivors themselves, their partners, their parents, their children.

“The focus now has to be about those survivors.”

In March it was reported Crewe Alexandra had agreed a financial pay-out to a victim of Barry Bennell, who was jailed for 31 years for abuse.

Yesterday Southampton released a statement offering sympathy and support to the victims, while today Peterborough United said they had acted properly through the investigation.

Following the verdicts at Bournemouth Crown Court, in a joint statement, the victims said:

“When Bob Higgins returned to court eight weeks ago, he gave a clear message to us all with his continued refusal to accept responsibility for what he did to us as children. However, that message made us all stronger and more determined. The verdicts from the Jury after hearing all of the evidence mean that Mr Higgins’ arrogance and lies have finally caught up with him. At last, after all these years, we can finally get a sense of closure and try to move on from this nightmare.

“On behalf of everybody who’s taken part in the trials, we would like to thank everyone involved in the case for having faith and belief in us.

“We would particularly like to thank the prosecution and investigation team who must have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours putting this jigsaw puzzle together.

“But, most of all, we must thank our loved ones, wives, girlfriends, sons, daughters, mums, dads, brothers, sisters and close friends who have supported us right through to the end. It must have been difficult for them also.

“We now ask the members of the media, who have been very courteous so far, to give us all some time and space to reflect on today’s verdicts. Please be respectful of our wishes and we will make no further comment until after sentencing.

“We did it Billy, love you our good friend and brother xxx”