An alleged victim of sexual abuse by the former Newcastle football coach George Ormond broke down and wept in court on Tuesday as he recalled the first time he told anyone about it.
The man, now in his 50s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Newcastle crown court that he first mentioned the alleged abuse almost 30 years later to a therapist to whom he had been referred because he was struggling with severe depression, self-harming and suicidal thoughts.
The witness said he “cried like a baby” in the therapist’s arms, and that after going to bed that night “I didn’t want to wake up, ever.”
The jury was shown a video of the man’s interview with Northumbria police in December 2016 in which he said the alleged abuse by George Ormond had escalated gradually in seriousness, culminating in buggery on a school weekend away trip.
The witness told the police that the abuse began at school in 1983 when Ormond, who was helping the teachers, would watch him and another boy in the shower after physical activities. That developed into Ormond having a shower with the two boys, then to alleged serious acts of forced sexual abuse when Ormond was alone with the witness.
He said he reacted “like a rabbit in the headlights”, too embarrassed to tell anybody, and he had worried that somehow the abuse was his fault. Asked about the alleged abuse by Ormond and a schoolteacher on the weekend away, the witness said: “I looked up to these people. They were people I trusted. And I was frightened not to do it.”
He told the police: “Maybe I was targeted because I wouldn’t say anything or do anything, maybe because I was a frightened little boy.”
Asked whether he meant he had been a frightened boy generally, or only when being subjected to abuse, he replied: “During the incidents. That’s how I felt. I was frightened, I was scared. I was frightened that if I said anything, people would laugh at me. Was it my fault that it was happening, would people believe us if I said anything, would I be ridiculed?”
He said that several years ago he went through a “bad bout” of depression, self-harming and suicidal thoughts, and his GP referred him for cognitive behaviour therapy. The therapist told him there had to be an underlying cause of his problems, and he then mentioned the alleged abuse.
Rebecca Trowler QC, defending Ormond, challenged the witness by pointing to criminal offences of dishonesty for which he had been convicted. Trowler put to him that his evidence was made dishonestly, to falsely seek financial compensation.
The witness said he had committed the offences when he was in financial difficulties and had pleaded guilty straight away. His allegations against Ormond were true, he maintained. “I’ve lived with it every day since,” he said.
Ormond denies that any of the alleged incidents took place. He is charged with one count of buggery against this victim, and 36 counts of indecent assault and one of indecency against 19 victims, all teenage boys at the time, between 1973 and 1998.
It is alleged he committed the offences while helping with extra-curricular activities at the school, coaching at a north-east boys’ football club and being involved as “a gopher” and kit man in Newcastle United’s football youth development system.
The trial continues.