December 2018

Children’s football coach jailed after sexually assaulting two girls

A children’s football coach has been jailed for sexually abusing two young girls in his care.

Neal Harris was a trainee primary school teacher when he coached youngsters at a football club based in South Gloucestershire.

Bristol Crown Court heard he groped one 14-year old before having sex with a 15-year-old one month before she turned 16.

Harris, 25, of Rectory Close in Yate, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, in a position of trust, regarding both girls.

Judge James Patrick jailed him for four years.

He told Harris: “You were their coach.

“You were training to be a primary school teacher.

“You used your position to groom these two girls, both very significantly younger than you.”

Harris was barred from working with children and vulnerable adults and was told to register as a sex offender for life.

James Tucker, prosecuting, said Harris was 21 when he abused a girl aged 14 by kissing and touching her sexually above her clothes.

Mr Tucker said: “She fell in love with him.”

At one stage Harris messaged the child with a picture of himself in his stained pants, telling her: “Look what you do to me.”

That made her feel uncomfortable, the court heard, but she initially felt unable to tell anyone.

Harris told her they should wait to have sex when she was 18, but cuddled her on a bed and kissed her stomach, Mr Tucker said.

Eventually Harris moved on to another girl he coached and, after exchanging messages on social media, they became intimate and had sex a month before her 16th birthday.

Mr Tucker told the court: “She was worried because it was her first time.

“She told him she wanted to.

“She describes him using condoms and they spoke about her having an implant.

“He bought her a ring and Christmas gifts.”

The court heard they went on to have sex at his home and in his car.

When Harris was arrested he denied any wrongdoing with the first girl and denied sex with the second girl before she was 16.