‘You have debilitated me’: Haunting words of Bob Higgins’ victim as paedophile football coach is sentenced

VICTIMS of predatory paedophile Bob Higgins wept in court as the words of an abused player killed in a crash were heard from beyond the grave.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 3:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 10:27 am

Billy Seymour’s mother told the court of the damage done to her son’s life, his diagnosis of personality disorder and how he was ‘sick’ to his stomach about disgraced Higgins.

Higgins’ sentencing hearing started this morning and is due to last two days after the 66-year-old was convicted of 46 charges of indecent assault against 24 boys last month.

Winchester Crown Court was packed with the victims, their families and members of the press as Higgins as the sentencing hearing started by hearing statements from those who were abused between 1997 and 1966.

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Bob Higgins. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

The trial heard he abused his 'supreme position' of power at Southampton and Peterborough United.

Prosecutor Adam Feest QC read statements while some took to the witness box to read aloud while Higgins sat in the glass-walled dock.

Reading Billy Seymour’s statement, written before his tragic death in a crash in January this year, his mother said: ‘Let me get this over with. I'm sick to my stomach of giving you any more thoughts of substance of consideration - you deserve nothing.'

Billy's statement added he was diagnosed with personality disorder and said: 'You have debilitated me, all my life.'

Other victims wept in court as the statement was read.

Portsmouth man Lee Smith read his victim statement, standing in the witness box with his wife by his side.

He told Higgins that 'psychological and social scars will be in my mind forever' - and added: 'You thought you were untouchable, your arrogance was your downfall - I hope your new neighbours stare at your daily, making you paranoid just as it did to me.'

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Lee said he had ‘courage to come forward’ after the football abuse scandal erupted in 2016 said he was ‘not at all surprised’ Higgins’ name came up.

He told the court living on a council estate with a single mum on benefits he dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and was ‘delighted that someone was taking an interest in me, I put my trust in you, so did my mum’.

But he added: ‘We were being brainwashed by you.’

Higgins’ third victim stood looking at the defendant as he said: ‘There’s an anger inside of me, a feeling of disgust.’

He told the court, where eight jurors from the trial have come to watch, that he tried to ‘control it’ for more than 40 years.

Another victim said he had heard Higgins called a ‘star maker’ throughout the justice process. But he said: ‘You are not any of those things.

‘Every successful minute, every personal achievement, every positive outcome in my life and the lives of every single person... has been in spite of you and you can take no credit for any of it.’

The sentencing is expected to last two days.