Glasgow & West Scotland

Ex-Celtic Boys Club coach 'dropped abuse victim from team'

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

A man who alleged he was being abused by former Celtic boys club manager Jim Torbett claims he was "dropped" from the team after making excuses to avoid being alone with him.

A jury heard excerpts from police statements given by a 40-year old man who died last year.

He claimed Mr Torbett, known as Jim, abused him during his time in the under 14s team in the early 1990s.

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

The 40-year-old told police Mr Torbett "dropped" him from the team when he didn't do what he wanted him to or made excuses not to go to his house, where he claimed he was regularly abused.

He also claimed Mr Torbett took him and other boys on holiday to Disneyland in Florida and the team travelled to France for a tournament, but that no abuse took place on the trips.

The man told officers he contacted and borrowed money from Torbett in 2001, but decided he wasn't going to repay it because he didn't have it and for "what he did to him".

Confused and scared

Mr Torbett, 71, from Kelvindale, Glasgow, denies sexually abusing four boys between August 1985 and August 1994.

Three officers read parts of statements they each noted from the man, between December 2016 and June 2017.

In the first he claimed the first time he was abused by Mr Torbett was in his car after taking other boys home from training.

The court heard he "didn't know what was happening" and that he felt confused and scared.

The statement went on: "I can still remember lying in bed that night thinking to myself: 'Is that how adults act?'."

The man told police there were "numerous incidents" that happened.

He also claimed Mr Torbett invited him over to his flat where he abused him.

Jurors heard Mr Torbett "would drop him from the team" when the teenager didn't do what he wanted and when he made excuses not to go to his home.

He told officers the accused asked him to dry "in a certain way" when showering after training sessions.

Trips abroad

The court heard the schoolboy went to Paris on a trip with the team and Mr Torbett bought him the French national tracksuit when they were there.

He told police Mr Torbett also paid to take a selection of players away to Florida for a two week holiday and that no abuse took place on either trips.

Jurors were told around 2001 he was using drugs and had a gambling habit.

His father who helped him out with debts had died and he owed a friend money.

He initially gave a statement that he found Mr Torbett's number on an old phone book and called him but later admitted he went to Mr Torbett's flat, and took his new mobile number from him.

He said never told the police because he was "embarrassed and felt guilty" going to flat where Mr Torbett "frequently abused him".

The man said he later phoned Mr Torbett who agreed to meet him and loan him £200 that he "intended" on paying back.

The court heard he told officers the accused phoned him "about five times" but he never answered.

After the first alleged incident the witness told police he had wanted to tell his father what happened.

But the jury heard he did not as he was worried his father would think he was "less of a man."

The witness's mother also gave evidence.

She told the court her late son made his first approach to the police after watching ex-footballers talking about abuse in England on BBC Two's Victoria Derbyshire show.

The trial, before judge Lord Beckett, continues.

More on this story