Cumbria

Anthony Pickering trial: Sex assault claims 'lies' says ex-coach

A former football coach alleged to have indecently assaulted young players has branded the claims against him "lies".

Anthony Pickering denies 10 charges of indecent assault on seven boys, all aged under 14.

The 56-year-old, formerly of Claife Avenue, Windermere, repeatedly told his trial at Carlisle Crown Court the alleged incidents "never happened".

The jury previously heard one alleged victim said Mr Pickering would report him for stealing if he spoke out.

The assaults are said to have taken place in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Mr Pickering was a coach for a Lake District team.

'No idea why'

Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Pickering said he had "fully" co-operated with police investigating the claims.

Asked by his barrister, Mohammed Rafiq, if he had any idea why the claims were being made against him, he replied: "None whatsoever."

During cross-examination, he told the jury: "They were telling lies about me."

The court also heard that in 1995 Pickering was convicted of seven offences of indecent assault before an Army general court martial in Germany. He was subsequently given a dishonourable discharge.

Among those offences, Mr Pickering sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy after giving him a lift home following football training and parking in a secluded area. He also committed "similar offences" against a "similarly aged boy", the court was told.

The trial continues.

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