Football abuse victim blames police for 'letting me down'

The claim has been made by victim Scott Ramsbottom who says he was groomed and abused by the same serial sexual predator accused of attacking former England international Paul Stewart

BY Newstalk 09:15 Sunday 5 February 2017, 9:15 5 Feb 2017

Image: IRN

Police in Lancashire have been accused of allowing a paedophile football coach to escape justice.

The claim has been made by victim Scott Ramsbottom who says he was groomed and abused by the same serial sexual predator accused of attacking former England international Paul Stewart.

Mr Ramsbottom says that long before the recent football abuse scandal broke he reported the crimes and even made a nine-page statement detailing the assaults.

He told police that coach Frank Roper, who had close ties with Blackpool FC in the 1980s, got him executive box seats to watch matches at the club's ground before taking him and other boys to a restaurant or giving them money to play on fruit machines.

Mr Ramsbottom, who was just 12 at the time, said: "He was always a nice smiley gentleman. I thought he was alright at the time. I thought he was a genuine man who was going to offer me something decent in my life like becoming a footballer... I didn't realise what he was doing to me."

He said that after paying for boys to stay in a hotel room he would abuse them in the middle of the night.

It was only as Mr Ramsbottom grew older that he realised how wrong the actions were and plucked up enough courage to report them to police.

But he said he never heard another word from them until the football abuse allegations emerged last November - by which time Roper had died.

"I think the way the police handled it ... they just let me down," he said. "I think it's disgusting that I made a complaint [and] they've just not done anything about it."

Lancashire Police refused to answer questions from Sky News about the allegations but issued the following statement: "We are aware of a historical complaint and we're currently reviewing that to see if anything further can be done. We are in regular contact with the complainant to keep him updated."

Mr Ramsbottom, now 44, said the abuse had left him with negative feelings which ruined his teenage years and still affect him to this day.

He said: "I've had problems like feeling ashamed, never good enough for anything. I've just felt a bit worthless most of my life because of what happened to me."

Roper owned sports shops in Blackpool and Manchester and died 11 years ago.

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