September 2016

Gymnastics coach jailed for abusing young children


A sports coach from Cardiff has been jailed for six years after sexually assaulting and imprisoning very young children in his care.

Described as “dangerously manipulative” by the police who caught him, he videoed and photographed a number of the assaults and stored them on his computer.

The gymnastics teacher targeted seven girls and one boy aged between seven and ten at a community gym where he gave lessons in acrobatics and keep fit.

“This was a particularly serious case as Luke Griffin abused a position of trust to deceive decent, trusting people in order to gain access to their children.

“The [families] have been on a harrowing journey, having to listen to and try to come to terms with what their children have been though. But, they have conducted themselves with utmost dignity and self-discipline.

“Most of all, we must focus on the child victims in this case. Despite being so young and often very frightened, they have shown remarkable bravery in coming forward and giving their evidence. It is because of their courage that Luke Griffith is behind bars today.”

After Griffin imprisoned one girl in the boot of his car he told her he would “get her mum in the night” if she told anyone.

He used force to restrain another victim, telling her it was their secret and bribed another girl with 50p and £1 not to say anything.

“Luke Griffin abused a position of trust by repeatedly sexually assaulting children in his care. “I hope that today’s sentencing will be of some comfort to his young victims as well as their families, who continue to support them in dealing with the effects of Griffin’s actions.”

Prosecutor Caroline Rees said: “It was a deliberate and sophisticated targeting and grooming of children who were easily manipulated.”

She said the children were all primary school pupils and vulnerable with at least two of them upset that their parents had split up.

Griffin admitted 13 counts of sexual assault of children under 13 and one of false imprisonment. He was jailed for six years and showed no emotion when sentenced.