Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Bob Higgins trial: Abuse accused was 'in bed with wife'

Bob Higgins Image copyright Solent News & Photo Agency
Image caption Bob Higgins said Billy Seymour had stayed overnight at his house

A former youth football coach told his abuse trial he was in bed with his wife at the time one of his trainees alleged he was molested.

Bob Higgins is accused of sexually touching former Southampton youth player Billy Seymour, as well as 23 other boys, between 1971 and 1996.

Questioned about Mr Seymour's allegations, the defendant responded: "Where was my wife at the time?"

Mr Higgins, 66, denies 51 counts of indecent assault.

Bournemouth Crown Court previously heard evidence from Mr Seymour, who died in a car crash in January, in a recording of a police interview.

Mr Seymour claimed he was molested in the defendant's car and home.

Jurors had been told on one occasion Mr Seymour ran out of Mr Higgins' house half naked after being abused on his bed.

Image caption Billy Seymour died in a car crash in January

Mr Seymour said he was trying to find a phone box so he could call his parents and ask them to take him home.

Mr Higgins denied this had happened and agreed with defence barrister Alistair MacDonald QC it was "not the sort of thing you would forget".

Mr Higgins said Mr Seymour had stayed overnight at his house while away from his home to train in Southampton, but had never been on his own with him at the house.

"The times he alleged - my wife would have been in bed with me," said Mr Higgins.

Earlier, the court heard that another complainant, who alleged Mr Higgins put his hands down his shorts, once wrote a note to the defendant describing him as "the best, nicest person I've ever met".

Mr Higgins denied he "played any part in soliciting this message" and said the alleged victim had also given him cassette tapes of his favourite music as thank you presents.

The trial continues.

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