- Tower Hamlets
A football coach from Forest Hill has been jailed for two years for sexually assaulting a boy who was injured at the training ground where he worked.
Marlon Barnes, 41, of Dartmouth Road, received the stiffest sentence possible at the Old Bailey last week after telling a stunned court he had forgiven his victim for reporting him to the police.
The former football coach, who ran training sessions in Sydenham and Penge, was also placed on the Sexual Offenders Register or 10 years.
The court heard how a 16-year-old boy attending a training session on March 30 at the Alexandra Recreation Ground had been groped by Barnes after staying behind because of a groin injury.
Barnes had convinced the victim to attend the session by telling him he could make it to the Premier League, the court was previously told.
The victim’s told his mother, who reported it to police that night, leading to Barnes’ arrest at his home on April 2. He had been banned once before from coaching in 2007.
Detective Constable Ivan Rydqvist, of the Metropolitan Police’s child abuse investigation command, said: “Marlon Barnes is a sexual predator who deliberately set about targeting youngsters and engaging them in football training sessions with a view to sexually exploiting them.
“I believe he may have committed other, similar offences and would urge anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to have the confidence to report the incident to the police.”
The Met’s child abuse investigation team can be contacted on 020 7230 3242.