Former Southampton football coach denies sex offence charges

A former Southampton FC youth coach has denied a series of charges of sexual offences following a police probe into historical child abuse in the football community.

Robert Higgins, 64, faces 63 counts of indecent assault and two counts of attempted indecent assault committed against 23 teenage boys, all aged under 17.

Southampton Magistrates' Court heard that the alleged offences date between 1970 and 1996.

The ex-Saints youth coach, known as Bob, of Litchfield Road, Southampton, spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and address during the short hearing.

He indicated that he would plead not guilty to the alleged offences and the magistrates sent the case to be tried at Winchester Crown Court.

Dan O'Neill, prosecuting, told the court: "These matters are not suitable for summary trial as they are substantial offences spanning three decades."

Chairman of the bench Alan Foster told Higgins: "You pleaded not guilty to these offences and you will go to be tried at Winchester Crown Court.

"The first hearing is on August 16 and you are now on unconditional bail."

AP

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