October 2019

Ex-cop who ran youth centre tuck shop gave girl free crisps and coffee and told her not to tell anyone – before sexually abusing her

A former police officer and well-known cricket coach has been jailed after being found guilty of sexually abusing a girl while he helped run a youth club.

Paul McGuffog, 61, has been locked up for six years after a jury convicted him of the historic abuse.

His ‘dark secret’, hidden behind his years of otherwise distinguished service, was laid bare in court before he was sent down.

The Manchester centre has since been shut down.

Manchester Crown Court heard the girl, who was under 16 at the time of the abuse, regularly attended the facility and got to know McGuffog well.

The jury heard McGuffog, who helped run a tuck shop at the centre, would give her coffee and crisps for free and ask her not to tell anyone.

McGuffog went on to sexually abuse the girl after driving her to secluded areas in his car.

The jury found him guilty of six counts of indecent assault; one count of attempted buggery; and misconduct in a public office.

Jurors heard the sexual abuse lasted over a number of weeks. McGuffog, who denied the offences, was found guilty after a trial.

Sentencing, Judge Alan Conrad QC told him: “Until your retirement 10-years-ago, you served the police with distinction, but there was a dark secret in your background going back to the time you were carrying out your duties at the… social club.”

The judge said McGuffog used his ‘status and greater sophistication to cultivate and seduce an impressionable and vulnerable young girl’.

His conviction represented a ‘terrible fall from grace’, the judge added.

In a victim impact statement read by prosecutor Brian Berlyne, the woman said McGuffog had ‘dumped’ her and ‘used her like a piece of c**p’.

She said being believed by the jury had been of comfort to her.

“To him it might have been just a bit of fun, but for me it has ruined me,” she said.

“The trial and the result has impacted on me. I feel like I can breath now.

“Just for people to believe me, that was all.”

She spoke of the problems she had suffered prior to her abuse at McGuffog’s hands, and how that added to her depression and other issues.

“I got in trouble with the police and part of me thought that Paul might actually come out to the call, yet the other half just couldn’t stand the police,” she added.

The court heard that after, McGuffog was also a cricket coach.

Defending, David Wood said that ‘uniquely gifted’ in the role, adding that the defendant won’t be able to work as a coach anymore due to his conviction.

He said that McGuffog had not behaved inappropriately before or since these offences, and described him as being a ‘rock’ for his family.

Mr Wood, who said the public gallery was full of McGuffog’s friends and family, added: “The sense of disbelief amongst those who have come to support him goes to show how out of character this offending was.”

McGuffog, of Barton Road, Stretford, Trafford, was ordered to sign the sex offender register for life.