Athletics coach who abused girl in Edinburgh brought to justice by his 'brave' victims

An athletics coach who played the pop hit "Young Girl" to teenagers who he subjected to sexual abuse has been jailed for eight years.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 4:52 pm

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Eric Simpson, 73, preyed on his five victims - including raping one.

The sick crimes occurred between 1981 and 1999 in an Edinburgh school and Kirkcaldy and Burntisland in Fife.

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Behind bars: Pervert coach Eric Simpson

Simpson continued as a respected coach, but was finally brought to justice when one victim - now in her 50s - went to police in 2018 sparking a large scale abuse probe

She saw a photograph which featured him still involved in athletics posing with a young girl and went to the police.

Simpson was convicted following a trial in Edinburgh and has now been sentenced at the High Court in Paisley.

The pervert was found guilty of raping one girl and subjecting the four others to indecent assaults and lewd acts.

Jailing Simpson, trial Lord Arthurson told him: "In light of the jury's verdict, you come across as a Jekyll and Hyde character.

"Your crimes against your victims in this case was nothing short of monstrous. You have displayed limited regret and lack victim empathy.

"I note you stand as a first offender and your career as a highly regarded athletics coach. There was sustained sexual abuse as a coach towards young females."

Jurors heard the victim who initially went to police had wanted to protect other young girls from potential abuse.

The court was told Simpson previously boasted how it was difficult working with girls when they all fancied him.

One victim was initially molested by Simpson during massages before he ended up raping her.

She told the trial: "He used to put music on and say it made him think of me.

"It was 'Young Girl'."

Another said he also played the Gary Puckett and The Union Gap hit when he preyed on her.

This woman added she can no longer listen to the song.

She was only 13 when Simpson made inappropriate remarks.

Recalling the ordeal at his hands, the witness added: "I was frozen. I was too scared to do anything."

Three other girls were also targeted including one who he pulled onto his knee and kissed.

After police were alerted, detectives contacted various people who had been coached by Simpson in a career which spanned from the 1970s until his suspension in 2018.

Simpson had denied any guilt, but he was convicted of seven charges last month.

His lawyer Krista Johnston said: "He devoted himself to athletics.

"He coached 15 British and two Paralympic champions.

"His reputation as a coach and, most importantly, his position as the head of the family is in jeopardy.

"He does not agree with the conviction, but has to accept the punishment."

Simpson was also put on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.

Following the case, Detective Sergeant Graeme Dursley said: "Simpson was well known in the local community. He was held in very high regard in athletic circles and many of those we spoke to couldn't believe the concerns were true. This shows his level of manipulation and the depraved character that he was.

"The women who agreed to testify against him are incredibly brave. If it wasn't for all the women agreeing to speak to us, we would not have had this conviction.”

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