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Ten years in jail for former Stortford football coach who sexually abused boy

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Raymond Wheeler (7819166)
Raymond Wheeler (7819166)

A former Bishop’s Stortford man who used his position as a football coach in the 1970s to sexually abuse a boy has been sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison.

Raymond Wheeler, 61, appeared at Luton Crown Court today (Friday, March 15) for sentencing. He had pleaded guilty at a hearing on February 11 to three counts of indecent sexual assault on a boy and, on at least 10 occasions, inciting a boy to commit an act of gross indecency.

The offences happened in Stortford between 1976 and 1978 when the victim was aged 12 to 14. He is now 54.

The court heard how Wheeler, who was aged 19 to 21 at the time of the offences, groomed the victim when he worked as a coach for the boy's football club.

He went to the victim's home to talk about football and then arranged for him to visit his own home, which is where the abuse began.

Wheeler would give the boy and his teammates lifts in his vehicle, dropping off the victim last. The victim described how he had felt safe at these times, having been the victim of bullying.

As well as the prison sentence, Wheeler, who now lives in Leigh-on-Sea, will be placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

Investigating officer Det Con Clare Seal said: “Wheeler used his position of trust to abuse and exploit a young boy for his own disturbing sexual gratification.

“Wheeler’s victim has shown immense bravery in coming forward and reporting the abuse to us and I would like to commend him for that.

“Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to tackling all allegations of sexual abuse against children. I hope today’s sentence gives the victim some form of closure so that he can now move forward with his life."

DC Seal added: “We understand that victims of a sexual offence may not want to speak to the police in the first instance. Anyone in Hertfordshire who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence can contact the Herts Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for practical and emotional support.The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them.”

* To contact Herts SARC, call the 24/7 helpline on 0808 178 4448, email herts.SARC@nhs.net or visit www.hertssarc.org. The service is open to everyone – men, women and young people, no matter when the abuse occurred.

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