Former sports coach jailed for sexually abusing five girls

St Albans Crown & County Court
St Albans Crown & County Court

A paedophile and former sports coach who sexually abused young girls he was training was jailed for 12 years today (Friday, August 21).

Graham Leslie Oliver, of Heol Fedw, Swansea, Wales, carried out the catalogue of sexual assaults against five girls in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted over a period of 38 years, dating back to the 1970s to the present day.

Oliver, 58, assaulted the girls at the sports club during training sessions, in his bedroom at his home, in his car, at a school and in Gadebridge Park in Hemel Hempstead.

St Albans Crown Court heard how Oliver used his position of trust to befriend the girls.

He often gave them lifts in his car to and from club sessions, as well as inviting them back to his house to watch training videos.

All of the victims were under the age of 16 at the time of the assaults, with the youngest being five years old.

Oliver was only caught when one of the girls, now in her 40s, went to the police earlier this year and told them about the abuse she suffered from 1978 to 1981, when she was between 14 and 16.

Another victim read aloud her witness impact statement to the court, saying of Oliver: “He stole my dreams and my innocence. He used friendship as a facade for abuse.

“I have carried a burden of shame and guilt since I was 14 years old and I never told a soul until September 2014.

“I feel bereft at what I have not had, such as a loving relationship or children, because I have been unable to distinguish between what is love and what is abuse.

“I have found my voice but it has been an agonising process.

“I know I have a long way to go, but I have a sense of hope that I can achieve normal relationships in the future.

“I have lived in the shadow of the person I know I can be.”

The victim told the court how she has endured 18 months of counselling and psychotherapy as a result of the abuse at Oliver’s hands, and is continuing to receive treatment.

Oliver was handed the 12-year jail term by His Honour Judge Andrew Bright QC after pleading guilty to all 13 counts against him.

Judge Bright told Oliver: “You have been a serial child abuser for 38 years.

“What you did to each of those girls has had a profoundly damaging effect on each of their lives.

“You took their innocence and ruined their childhood.”

On leaving prison, Oliver will serve another six years on licence and is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which bans him from being alone with children under the age of 16.