A former Wigan footballer says he is “devastated” after a coach accused of abusing him as a young man was cleared of the crime.
David Eatock refused to be drawn further yesterday on the jury’s verdict against George Ormond, although it appeared little comfort that the predatory paedophile who helped in Newcastle.
United’s youth set-up had been convicted of dozens of other sex offences against other young charges.
In the 1970s and 80s Ormond coached at a prominent junior club in the city before assisting at the Premier League side in the 1990s and he used his power over his victims’ football futures to prevent them from speaking out.
He was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of 35 charges of indecent assault and one of indecency. He was cleared of the one charge relating to Mr Eatock.
The trial saw 19 complainants give evidence following an investigation which was sparked in 2016 by media reports of professional football’s sex abuse scandal.
Ormond, 62, had already been jailed for six years in 2002 for 12 indecent assaults on young players.
The coach was remanded in custody ahead of sentence today. The judge excused the panel from further jury service for life after the trial, which lasted more than six weeks, ran longer than expected.
Mr Eatock waived his right to anonymity last year to allege harrowing sexual abuse by a former coach.
He was one of many sportsmen to allege terrible experiences at the hands of Ormond while they were part of the junior set-up at Newcastle.
The former Standish High pupil, who has a twin called Paul and an elder brother, Andy, was a regular player for the school team and Wigan Junior Latics before joining the North East club as a youth player.
The events began shortly after David signed for Newcastle aged 18, in 1995, and endured until he was 21.
Outside court, Gary Buckley of the CPS said: “For over two decades George Ormond abused young men and boys while working in the youth football scene in the North East of England.
“To many of his victims he was a figure of authority, trust and influence. Instead of nurturing and supporting them, he exploited his role to subject them to sexual abuse.
“I would like to praise the bravery of the many victims who came forward to assist with both the investigation and prosecution.
“They gave evidence in this case which helped the CPS demonstrate that Ormond’s offending was both predatory and prolific.”
Det Supt Mick Paterson from Northumbria Police said: “George Ormond was a prominent football coach between 1975 and 1999 and he used that position to act as a predatory paedophile to abuse young men.
“He used that position to gain contact with young men who had dreams and aspirations of going on to have football careers and the insidious nature of that offending shattered the lives of almost 20 victims.”