April 2013

Pervert sexually abuses SEVEN girls and walks FREE from court !

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Gymnastics coach who sexually abused seven teenage girls walks free from court as judge accepts his ‘remorse’ despite attempts to blame victims

  • Bob Bellew admitted a string of sexual abuse charges spanning 40 years

  • Was handed 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years

  • Judge said offences were ‘not specimens of a course of conduct’

  • She said ‘punishment has in effect already begun’

  • Sentence slammed as ‘everything that is wrong’ with British justice system

  • ‘You get six months for taking your husband’s speeding points,’ say victims

  • Bellew had ‘passed the blame onto his victims’ in a probation report

An internationally-renowned gymnastics coach who sexually abused seven teenage girls over a 40 year period has walked free from court today.

Bob Bellew, 66, has published books on gymnastics, taught at schools across the UK and was a former Community Coach of the Year.

He also served on committees planning the 2012 Olympics and was chief coach of the Tower Hamlets Schools gym and dance display team.

Bellew was also awarded the ‘Order of the Smile’, a UN-recognised citation for adults ‘distinguished in their love, care and aid of children’.

But he admitted a string of sexual abuse charges, spanning 40 years, against girls he was tutoring.

He was today spared jail at Snaresbrook Crown Court by a judge who said he had demonstrated ‘genuine remorse’.

His outraged victims slammed the justice system in a statement after the pervert was handed a suspended sentence.

They said: ‘This sentence says you are allowed to go into a primary school and touch young girls and you will not be punished for it.

‘This shows everything that is wrong with the British justice system. He has had to live with this for two or three years, but the victims have had it hanging over them their whole lives.’

Bellew, who shook uncontrollably throughout the hearing, admitted touching three children while working at a south London primary school in the 1970s. 

He offered help to three of them with groin injuries, and after removing their clothes he groped them.

He touched the daughter of a friend after offering her private tutoring, and another had her thigh stroked when she was invited to his home. 

He also admitted touching two teenagers in offences between 1998 and 2004, on the pretext of helping them perform a routine.

Judge Joanna Korner handed Bellew a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and banned him from working with children. 

She said: ‘These were not specimens of a course of conduct, but actually single offences which you engaged against these girls. 

‘It does seem to me that this is a case where the punishment has in effect already begun, in the effect this had on you, for the loss of your standing and the strain of waiting to find out what would happen.

‘Accordingly, I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the cases where punishment may be tempered with mercy.’

After denying the claims for months, Bellew suddenly came clean, pleading guilty to eight of 17 charges just two weeks before he was due to stand trial. 

Bellew, from New Cross, south east London, admitted seven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual touching.

A further nine charges were left to lie on the court file.

In a joint statement some of Bellew’s victims who attended court said: ‘You get six months in prison for taking your husband’s speeding points, but you’re allowed to touch a child under their clothes and you get a suspended sentence.’

When asked if they believed his remorse was genuine they said: ‘He stopped shaking soon enough when he realised he wasn’t going to prison.’

Describing the impact on the victims, prosecutor Rekha Kodikara said: ‘One of the victims from the 1970s had excelled in sport, and it had become for her a place of sanctuary where she felt she could express herself. 

‘She said Mr Bellew destroyed that place by what he did. Since that incident, and over the years since she has felt unable to trust people in positions of authority.

‘The impact of that breach of trust has dogged her for years, she says she does not trust easily, does not let people into her circle, and it has seriously affected her marriage and her relationship with her children.’

She described two sets of allegations, the first in the 1970s, and the second in the 1990s and early 2000s.

She said: ‘The offences would not have occurred but for the position of trust held by the defendant as a gymnastics coach, which gave him access to the victims who were young and therefore vulnerable.’ 

Bellew originally pleaded not guilty to the later offences in April last year, and was due to stand trial in September. 

However, the second set of allegations came to light after the victims read news reports of the pending court case and contacted police. 

Bellew admitted eight of 17 charges against him, involving seven victims

However in a probation report he backed down from his admissions, denying the touching was sexual and passing the blame onto his victims.

His lawyer Barry Kogan said: ‘He has had great difficulty coming to terms with the shame of what he has done, and this is demonstrated by what he has told the probation officer, trying to deny his actions, pass them off as inappropriate not sexual, and blame the victims.’

But he said his client’s remorse was ‘genuine’, and asked the judge to ignore the comments in the report. 

Sentencing him, the judge said: ‘You were one of the most highly regarded gym coaches in this country and much of your life has been spent doing good to others in particular young people. 

‘At the same time, for the seven young women, who at the time were primary school children who had come to you for coaching on the basis of your reputation and the work you had done, for them you were anything but a good influence. 

‘It is clear that the effect of what you did has followed at the very least three of your victims throughout their adult lives.’

March 2013

Top gymnastics coach, 66, assaulted underage girls during classes over the past 40 years

  • Bob Bellew published books of sport and taught in schools across London

  • He also served on committees planning the London 2012 Olympics 

  • Bellew admitted eight of 17 charges against him

One of Britain’s top gymnastics coaches is facing jail for sexually abusing six teenage girls over the past 40 years. 

Bob Bellew has published books on the sport, taught at schools across London and was a former Community Coach of the Year.

He also served on committees planning the London Olympics and was the Chief Coach of Tower Hamlets Schools Gymnastics and Dance Display Team.

The 66-year-old was even awarded ‘The Order of the Smile,’ a UN recognised citation for ‘adults distinguished in their love, care and aid of children’.

But for decades the respected coach preyed on the girls he was tutoring, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

He admitted groping the girls, aged from 13 to 15, between September 18, 1970, and December 14, 2010.

Some of the assaults took place during trips abroad and during gymnastics classes. 

Bellew admitted eight of 17 charges against him, involving six victims and stretching back to 1970 at a short hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

He confessed to touching and placing his foot under a girl’s private parts, rubbing their thighs and prodding and patting their bottoms.

Bellew, from New Cross, southeast London, admitted seven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual touching.

The charges he denies will be left to lie on file, and he will be sentenced for the eight he has admitted on April 11. 

He was released on bail on the condition that he does not contact any of the victims.

Bellew has published books on gymnastic coaching including the title Gymnastics: A Flying Start in 1993.