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Fake football coach jailed for 15 years for sex assaults on teenage boys in Lambeth

A man who abused his position of trust posing as a football coach to sexually assault teenage boys has been jailed.

Emmanuel Igwebuike, 35, of no fixed address, was sentenced on Friday, at the Inner London Crown Court, to 15 years’ imprisonment after he sexually assaulted seven boys between 14 and 18 during the period June 2019 to April 2021.

At the time of the attacks, Igwebuike was acting in a self-appointed role as a football coach in his own ‘Jesus Mary Football Academy’ based in the Stockwell and Putney areas.

He was not affiliated to the English Football Association (FA) or any local football club.

The offences were committed at various locations, including former home addresses of Igwebuike in Lambeth and Putney and included a hotel in Birmingham.

On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, several allegations were made directly to police of recent offending – names of other potential victims and witnesses were provided.

The sexual assaults were committed after Igwebuike managed to build a trusting relationship with the boys, with promises to furthering their football careers and providing them with football opportunities.

The suspect targeted boys at a local church and other boys came into the football academy through word of mouth or after seeing them train in the local parks.

At the time of offences being committed, none of the boys knew of abuse to the others and thought they were the only ones being sexually assaulted.

Igwebuike was first arrested by officers from the Complex Investigation Team, Central Specialist Crime Command on 30 June 30, 2021 and initially charged with offences against three victims. He was remanded in custody and later charged with offences relating to four further victims.

He was found guilty of 22 counts of sexual assault at the same court on Friday, April 8, following a five-week trial.

He was also given a lifelong Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will also be on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Detective Constable Elaine Hutton, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “These offences committed by Igwebuike are of an extremely serious nature.

“They have had a significant impact on the life of the young victims and especially their families who trusted him and were subject to his manipulation. I would like to thank them all for their bravery during this investigation.

“We are keen to establish whether there are other victims of Igwebuike who have yet to come forward. Anyone who believes they were a victim of Igwebuike is asked to contact police.”

Picture top: Emmanuel Igwebuike (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

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