Glasgow & West Scotland

Ex-Celtic Boys Club coach 'touched player's thigh in car'

James Torbett Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption James Torbett denies sexually abusing four boys

A former youth footballer claimed ex-Celtic Boys' Club coach Jim Torbett touched his thigh during a car journey.

The witness, who played for the team in the 1980s, told a jury the incident happened while Mr Torbett was driving.

Mr Torbett, 71, denies sexually abusing four boys between over a nine-year period.

The High Court in Glasgow heard he is alleged to have abused the man on one occasion between 1 June, 1985 and 30 June, 1986.


The 45-year-old witness said: "He touched my leg. He ran his hand up and I had to pull his hand away. He touched up to my groin, but I drew his hand away, I got a bit panicky."

The man insisted the alleged incident happened on the M8, near Airdrie, when Mr Torbett was his team manager.

He told prosecutor Sheena Fraser: "I think it was in 1986 to 1987."

The court also heard four other boys were in the car at the time.

Defence QC Tony Graham said: "I have to suggest to you you have never been in Jim Torbett's car in your life."

But the witness replied: "I have been in his car."

'Very uncomfortable'

The witness also claimed that Mr Torbett made young footballers walk naked from the dressing room to the showers at Barrowfield Training Ground.

He said: "Mr Torbett used to say Celtic Boys' Club is a family and you don't take your underwear off in the shower room. You take them off in the dressing room.

"People started doing it, but they felt uncomfortable. Mr Torbett used to stand and watch everyone going into the showers."

Ms Fraser asked the witness if he felt uncomfortable.

He replied: "Yes, very uncomfortable."

School uniform

Another witness claims Mr Torbett sexually abused him 30 years ago as he wore his school uniform.

The 35-year-old told the court that this took place at the Trophy Centre factory in Shawbridge Street, Glasgow, between August 1988 and 30 June, 1990, when he was aged between four and six.

He said: "I was instructed by Mr Torbett to take my shorts and underwear down. He stood looking at me for a while. It seemed like ages. He said everything was fine and then left the room."

The witness told Ms Fraser that on another occasion the accused touched him on the groin while he looked at his homework.

He also claimed that Mr Torbett often touched him on the bottom.

He said that the alleged abuse took place in a large office at the premises.

Defence QC Tony Graham said: "The large office was for admin staff and there would always be a number of people there."

The witness replied: "On some occasions yes, but, on other occasions I was on my own with Mr Torbett."

The trial continues.

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