September 2011

Karate coach jailed for sexually abusing two boys

KARATE coach Tony Castle has been handed a 10-year sentence after sexually abusing two teenage boys.

The 52-year-old, who ran TSC Martial Arts and Day Centre, Longton, groomed his young victims over a number of years.

One of the boys, who lives in North Staffordshire, was sexually touched, hugged and kissed by Castle over an 18-month period.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard some of the abuse happened at Castle’s Normacot home.

Tony Castle, also known as Tony Boltonwood, taught hundreds of youngsters at clubs in Wellington, Ellerdine and Market Drayton and was also landlord at the Wheatsheaf in Soudley.

On one occasion, Castle had sexual activity with one of his victims after they watched a pornographic video.

Now Castle, of Hamilton Road, has been told he must serve five years in prison and another five years on licence after being labelled “a danger”.

Castle had already admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child; causing a child to watch a sexual act; sexually assaulting a child; and three charges of sexual assault.

Police arrested Castle on January 21 after one of the boys told his parents what had been going on.

The court heard Castle, who is also known as Tony Boltonwood, accepted what he had done was wrong and inappropriate.

Jason Holt, mitigating, said: “He accepts what he has done.

“He shows remorse and is eager and willing to understand his motivation and to work to rid himself of the problem he has.”

Sentencing, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones told Castle he will be on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.

He is also barred from working with children indefinitely.

Judge Trevor-Jones described the offending as “gross sexual abuse of two young boys”.

He told Castle: “All of this contact took place against the background that you had set up the martial arts school or classes.

“You were the figurehead, the instructor, with some world-class performance in the past, and an inspirational role model.

“Under that particular cloak of responsibility, which brought the interest of parents and pupils to your classes, was a degree of grooming on your part.

“You present a degree of danger.”

Police have contacted up to 60 children and young adults as part of their inquiries into Castle’s sexual abuse.

After the case, Detective Sergeant Simon Caton, from Staffordshire Police’s child protection unit, who led the Operation Octagon investigation into Castle, said: “This was a complex and sensitive investigation.

“Castle has been given a long sentence which has meant further victims are going to be protected from what is a dangerous and manipulative sex offender.”

Castle was the chief coach at Longton National Karate Association.

He has been involved in karate since the age of four and has been instructing for about three decades alongside his own competitive career.

His career highlight was winning the European Grand Prix Series in 2000.