October 2018

Sports coach guilty of sexually touching girls aged 12 and 13

A sports coach from Cornwall has been told to prepare himself for a prison term after he was found guilty of touching the genitals of two girls aged 12 and 13.

Brian Sweet, 68, from Castle View in Lostwithiel, has been on trial at Truro Crown Court this week denying seven counts of indecent assault.

However after a lengthy period of deliberation, the jury returned guilty verdicts to five of seven counts.

The offences happened in 1999 and by returning guilty verdicts the jury agreed that he touched the genitals of both of the victims.

Sweet is a well-known in his community, having been involved in the local bowls and football scenes, as well as helping out at the parish church.

The court heard during the trial that at the time of the offences the girls’ parents did not go to the police about the accusations as their daughters were “too distressed”.

On Tuesday (October 16), the mother of one of the girls was called to the witness stand.

She said her daughter never fully told her what had happened, other than claiming Sweet “had touched her”.

“She was so distressed I didn’t want to push her,” the witness said. “She alleges that he touched her and I have no reason to doubt that.”

When defence barrister Rupert Taylor asked the witness why nobody went to the police in 1999, she replied that it was “a different era”.

“We really didn’t know how we were going to deal with it,” she said.

“The girls didn’t really want to go into it. They didn’t want to discuss it. We were led by the girls. The girls were not ready to do anything about it.

“We wanted to give the girls the opportunity to do what they wanted to do. At that time they didn’t want it to go any further.”

One of the girls went on to contact police about Sweet six years later, in 2005, but the complaint was never followed up.

In 2017 one of the girls contacted the police once more and Sweet was subsequently charged.

During his defence Sweet claimed to have no sexual interest in children and pointed to the fact that he had regularly been Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked and for years coached children with no other complaints made against him.

Following the guilty verdicts, Judge Robert Linford told Sweet that he would sentence him on Monday morning (October 22) and that he should prepare himself for an inevitable custodial sentence.

Judge Linford granted Sweet bail for the weekend as “an act of mercy”.