Abuser told he faces a jail term

Bob Higgins at an earlier court hearing  Picture Habibur Rahman/Solent News

Trial date for ex-Southampton football coach accused of abuse

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A MAN who claimed he had been set up has been found guilty of abusing a girl.

Stuart MacDonald has been told he will be jailed when he is sentenced next month.

Despite the police finding indecent images of the girl, who was under 13, on his mobile phone and messages from him on the child’s phone MacDonald insisted he had not touched her.

The youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was forced to go to Portsmouth Crown Court and give evidence at his trial.

But the 38-year-old insisted he had not abused the girl and claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy.

The jury saw through his story and he was convicted of four counts of sexual assault of a child and two of taking indecent images of a child.

The offences happened between August and December last year when MacDonald lived in Portsmouth.

He has since moved to North Lanarkshire in Scotland.

Following the verdicts, Judge Sarah Munro QC told him: ‘You have been convicted by this jury on the most overwhelming of evidence. I’m going to adjourn sentence on you in order that the probation service can prepare reports.

‘A custodial sentence in this case is absolutely inevitable.’

The jury of 10 women and two men took just over two-and-a-half hours to reach the verdicts.

MacDonald was remanded in custody until his sentencing.