Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Bob Higgins trial: Billy Seymour's mother's statement

Billy Seymour
Image caption Billy Seymour died in a car crash in January

A trainee footballer's life "began to implode" as he turned to drink and drugs after being molested by his youth coach, a court has heard.

Billy Seymour, who died in a car crash in January, alleged Bob Higgins abused him when he was a Southampton youth player.

His mother, Jean Seymour, said her son had been "in awe" of Mr Higgins as a teenager.

Mr Higgins, 66, denies 51 counts of indecent assault at his retrial.

In a statement read to Bournemouth Crown Court, Mrs Seymour said she remembered her son being invited to join Southampton's youth academy, aged about 13.

"Billy was over the moon and this was a dream come true," she said.

Mrs Seymour said she was happy to allow her boy to stay at Mr Higgins' house while away training as she thought it was home to "a nice family".

She said her son had regarded Mr Higgins as "a hero".

Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Billy Seymour was indecently assaulted six times, the court was told

Mr Seymour was later invited to the FA's centre of excellence and did not want to return to Southampton, jurors were told.

Mrs Seymour said her son started taking drugs and when he was 18 was convicted of drink-driving.

"Billy's life began to implode - I didn't know why," she said.

"He also questioned his sexuality for a short period of time."

She said in 2010 Mr Seymour was jailed for attacking a taxi driver who had "smelt of Bob".

She said he started seeing a prison counsellor, but stopped when his sentence finished in October 2010 and later attempted suicide.

Mr Seymour was admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he would scream "get off me" while having nightmares, his mother said.

Mr Higgins is accused of sexually touching 24 boys, mostly Southampton and Peterborough United youth players, between 1971 and 1996.

The trial continues.

Image copyright Solent News & Photo Agency
Image caption Bob Higgins is accused of abusing youth players at Southampton and Peterborough United

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