Tyne & Wear

Ex-football coach John Marshall given absolute discharge

John Marshall attending a previous court hearing Image copyright North News
Image caption John Marshall had denied the charges against him

A man who abused five boys when he was a football coach in the late 1970s and early 80s has been given an absolute discharge.

John Marshall, 71, faced 11 charges of indecent assault but was deemed unfit to stand trial.

Following a trial of facts last month, a jury at Newcastle Crown Court decided Marshall, of Longbenton, North Tyneside, committed the acts.

The sentence means he will face no further action.

Judge Stephen Earl said: "I do not see this necessarily as the right outcome but the statutory outcome that I have no alternative to pass."

The court was told Marshall had been independently assessed by a psychiatrist and psychologist.

He was investigated as part of a Northumbria Police probe into child abuse at North East football clubs and arrested in January 2017.

Two of his victims contacted an NSPCC hotline two years ago.

Among the victims was a 14-year-old boy who was assaulted during private coaching sessions on Saturday afternoons but had been too afraid to tell anyone.

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