December 2019

Storey Arms instructor guilty of assaults against boys

A former climbing instructor has been found guilty of indecently assaulting three boys.

Robert Pugh, 75, of Cardiff, assaulted the boys at Storey Arms outdoor activity centre in the Brecon Beacons during the 1980s and 1990s.

At Cardiff Crown Court the jury were previously directed to find Pugh not guilty of three charges of historical child abuse due to a lack of evidence.

Pugh was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in January.

The 75-year-old was emotionless as guilty verdicts were read out on the 10 charges.

Pugh had faced trial for the third time over the indecent assault allegations.

The first trial in 2018 was halted for legal reasons, and following that trial a second victim came forward.

A jury failed to reach a verdict in a second trial in August 2019 and after that, a third victim was identified.

All three victims said they were under the age of 16 when Pugh started abusing them at the outdoor pursuits centre.

The court heard the boys seen as Pugh’s favourites were offered additional courses, received gifts and were taken to a pub.

They were given the opportunity to sleep in single rooms rather than dormitories.

The prosecution said that beneath Pugh’s respectable exterior “there was something that drove him to touch these boys”.

The jury was told one of the boys was “petrified” when asked to share a tent with Pugh on a camping trip.

Another told the court that it was easier to let it happen than to try and fight Pugh off.

After the verdict, one of Pugh’s victims thanked South Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

“My friends and family have also been a huge support, considering they have also suffered a lot throughout this process,” he wrote.

“Ultimately this trial was about victims. Having suffered some very dark times during this process, I’m getting myself better, and can look forward to moving on with my life.”