Manchester

Westhoughton: Former football coach jailed for abusing boys

Michael Coleman Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Coleman was jailed after a nationwide investigation

A former coach who abused boys at a Greater Manchester sports centre has been jailed for seven years.

Michael Coleman, 75, of Glaister Lane, Bolton was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court after an investigation into non-recent sexual abuse in sport.

Coleman, who was the manager of Westhoughton Sports Centre in the 1980s, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault.

Police praised Coleman's victims for their bravery in giving evidence.

The court heard that Coleman insisted boys at the centre showered after playing football and would regularly shower with them while staring at them all.

One of the boys, who was about 12 at the time, said Coleman followed him out of the shower and exposed himself before forcing him to engage in a sexual act.

A second victim reported Coleman had sexually assaulted him on a number of occasions when he was around 12 or 13.

Another victim was touched inappropriately by Coleman when he offered physiotherapy while he was suffering from an injury.

The victim did not realise the severity of the situation until many years later, police said.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Coleman was arrested in December 2016 as part of a nationwide investigation named Operation Corduroy.

It involved partners including the NSPCC, the Football Association and local councils.

Greater Manchester Police said he is the first person jailed as part of the investigation.

'Immense harm caused'

Det Con Jacqueline Wilkie from GMP said she hoped Coleman's victims could draw some "comfort and closure" from his sentence.

"Coleman denied any wrongdoing throughout the course of this investigation - he refused to admit his crimes which have had a devastating impact on his victims," she said.

"Coleman will now spend the next seven years in prison where he can reflect on the immense harm that he has caused."

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