October 2018

Former wrestling coach given suspended jail term for indecent assaults

A former wrestling coach who has previously been jailed for sexually abusing boys in the 1980s and 1990s has escaped another prison sentence.

Ex-national trainer James Dougan Watson has already served a number of prison terms and suspended jail sentences for molesting boys while running a wrestling club in Lowton.

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The 66-year-old was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to three charges of indecent assault during an earlier hearing at Bolton Crown Court.

The charges all relate to incidents which took place in 1989 and involved one teenage boy.

On two of the occasions, there was sexual touching under the guise of sports massages at Watson’s home after training sessions.

Judge Timothy Stead imposed a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Watson, who used to live on Beardsworth Drive in Lowton and has since moved to Dunstable, Bedfordshire,was previously in the dock at Bolton Crown Court in July last year.

He was due to stand trial but changed his pleas to guilty to six specimen charges of indecent assault on a wrestling hopeful, when the victim was aged 15 or 16, more than 20 years ago.

He was jailed for 16 months.

Prosecutors said Watson had begun abusing the boy by massaging his legs and body after exercise, using the physical contact as an excuse to brush his arm against his private parts.

Other occasions would see Watson thrusting his groin into the youngster’s face while he performed bench presses.

He later progressed to pulling the boy close to him, while teaching him “relaxation techniques”, and groping and kissing him.

The teenager left his club after Watson abused him while on a competition tour of the United States, when he pulled him close in a hotel room and began rubbing his bottom.

Later the victim, who is now in his late 30s, said his experiences had such an effect on him that he did not allow his own children to participate in organised sports.

Watson has previously been given a seven-year jail sentence, in 1998, for abusing three boys and raping one of them.

He was given a suspended prison term for indecent assaults on boys aged nine to 14, from the early 1990s, in 2010.

And in 2015 he was jailed for four years after he was found to have engaged in similar behaviour while running wrestling classes in Surrey in the early 1980s.

Watson, who has suffered previously from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has more recently battled prostate cancer, was said to have “lost everything” after his last conviction.

July 2017

Sex offender given 16-month prison sentence

A wrestling coach who sexually abused young boys in the ’80s and ’90s is today starting a jail term after another victim came forward.

James Dougan Watson, a former British trainer who ran his own club in Lowton, molested the 15-year-old while carrying out “sports massages”, Bolton Crown Court was told.

And while introducing the youngster to “relaxation techniques” in his bedroom, Watson would kiss him with an open mouth and grope his bottom, the court heard.

This is the fourth time Watson, now 65 and formerly of Beardsworth Drive, Lowton, has been convicted of sexual offences involving his wrestling students.

His first jail sentence in 1998 saw him imprisoned for six years for raping an under-age boy, and molesting another, in the Lowton area.

Speaking about his ordeal in court the victim, now 37, said: “Mr Watson has acted despicably but I recognise I was just part of his conveyor belt of abuse.”

He said his family thought their introduction to Watson, a renowned strength and conditioning coach in the Wigan and Leigh area, was a “golden ticket” for the teenager, as they could never have afforded lessons with him.

But their trust had been comprehensively betrayed. The victim said he could not even bring himself to allow his own children to participate in organised sports, because of his own experiences.

Watson was due to stand trial but eventually pleaded guilty to six specimen charges of indecent assault, relating to when the boy was aged 15 or 16.

Joanne Rodikis, prosecuting, said the defendant would have been aged around 42 when he was introduced to his victim, then 15.

When the teenager’s muscles began to feel tight and stiff, after an exercise session, Watson would massage his legs and body, and would always brush against his private parts with his arm.

Miss Rodikis said other occasions would see the boy asked to perform bench presses. Watson stood behind him to “spot” the exercise but end up thrusting his groin into the teen’s face.

The court heard how he also insisted on showing the boy “relaxation technqiues”, while lying on a bed with him. This would always end with Watson pulling the youngster close and kissing him, while fondling his bottom.

Miss Rodikis said the victim felt “the most scared” when he was asked to accompany Watson to watch another student compete in America.

While in a hotel room together Watson pulled him close and started rubbing his bottom, the court heard.

Watson was also given a suspended prison sentence in 2010 for carrying out indecent assaults on a boy aged between nine and 14, in the early 1990s.

He is currently serving a four-year jail term for the sexual abuse of another victim in Surrey, while running wrestling training sessions there between 1980 and 1985. His grooming began with sports massages, after training runs, and ended with him sharing a bed with the youngster.

Robert Golinski, defending, said Watson, who had previously suffered from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, had now been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and was undergoing treatment.

The defendant, who had spared the victim having to give evidence about his experiences at trial, had committed no offences since his release from his first prison sentence in 2003, he added.

Mr Golinski said: “The defendant has lost everything. He was highly regarded for the very real skills that he possessed, in terms of the sports that he loved. That is gone from his life completely.”

The court heard he had found work as a salesman, after his first prison sentence, and married, before he was arrested again a few years later.

Jailing him, Judge Timothy Stead said Watson had “cynically sexually exploited” young boys who had sought his assistance in achieving their own sporting aims.

December 2015

Wrestling coach who sexually assaulted young boy is jailed for 4 years

A FORMER wrestling coach from Dunstable who sexually preyed upon a young member of a wrestling team three decades ago has been jailed for four years.

Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court was told that Glasgow-born James Watson, 63, of 4 The Cedars, Dunstable, struck when the young boy and his team mates stayed at his home before travelling to bouts all over the country in the 1980’s.

Watson pleaded guilty on Monday (November 30) this week to two counts of gross indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault on dates between December 1980 and December 1985 at his former home in Rodney Street, Mitcham.

The abuse occurred when the victim was aged between nine and 14 and the now-married 44 year-old was prepared to give evidence against Watson until he finally accepted his guilt on the first day of the trial.

 He was not reported at the time but prosecutor Andrew Collings told the court the Watson’s victim contacted the police on May 28, 2013, to report sexual abuse by his former wrestling coach.

Mr Collings continued: “He and others stayed at the defendant’s house the night before competitions and would go on training runs, after which the defendant would suggest the victim take a shower and have a sports massage. 

“The young boy would lie naked on the bathroom floor and the defendant would start massaging one leg and make contact with his penis as he moved to the other leg.”

This behaviour escalated to Watson masturbating the youngster and performing oral sex on him.

“He would also share the defendant’s bed with regularity, while three to four members of the club slept in the spare room and it was seen as an ‘honour’ to be selected,” said Mr Collings.

Similar intimate abuse occurred in the bedroom until the boy eventually quit the wrestling team.

In a victim impact statement he victim recalled feeling “ashamed and embarrassed” and “used and abused”, adding the offending had also caused stress within his marriage.

Watson’s lawyer Miss Nicola Shannon said that the last sexual offence was committed in 1998 and added: “He’s a man in very poor health and is not a man who is an on-going risk to the community.”

January 2010

Wrestler is a child molester

A FORMER British national wrestling coach from Wigan molested young students, a court heard.

Most of the offences came to light more than a decade ago and James Watson was jailed for seven years in 1998.

But it was only last year that another of his victims, who was abused by Watson when he was only nine years old, came forward to the police.

The same judge who jailed him for abusing three boys and raping one of them said today that these other attacks warranted a 12-month sentence, but in the exceptional circumstances he suspended it for two years.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that 57-year-old Watson was recently diagnosed with cancer and faces chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He has been out of trouble after being released from jail and is assessed as a low risk of re-offending.

Andrew Downie, prosecuting, said that Watson used to run a gym in Lowton, where he was a wrestling coach.

He befriended a nine-year-old boy after seeing him walk past his home and invited him to join the wrestling club.

“Watson was well-known in the area and appeared to be well-respected. He spoke to the boy’s mum and she agreed he could join.”

After a while Watson began making inappropriate approaches to the boy and on occasions between then and the boy’s 16th birthday he sexually molested him, both at the gym and Watson’s home in Lowton.

Jail for wrestling coach in male rape

A FORMER national wrestling coach was jailed today on sex charges.

One-time coach for the British Amateur Wrestling Association James Watson, 46, was sentenced to seven years at Bolton Crown Court.

Watson of Leigh, Lancs, had been found guilty by a jury on 13 charges of indecent assault and one of male rape. The charges related to incidents occurring between 1984 and 1997