Former wrestling coach given suspended jail term for indecent assaults

Former wrestling coach James Dougan Watson was given a suspended prison sentence
Former wrestling coach James Dougan Watson was given a suspended prison sentence
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A former wrestling coach who has previously been jailed for sexually abusing boys in the 1980s and 1990s has escaped another prison sentence.

Ex-national trainer James Dougan Watson has already served a number of prison terms and suspended jail sentences for molesting boys while running a wrestling club in Lowton.

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The 66-year-old was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to three charges of indecent assault during an earlier hearing at Bolton Crown Court.

The charges all relate to incidents which took place in 1989 and involved one teenage boy.

On two of the occasions, there was sexual touching under the guise of sports massages at Watson’s home after training sessions.

Judge Timothy Stead imposed a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Watson, who used to live on Beardsworth Drive in Lowton and has since moved to Dunstable, Bedfordshire,was previously in the dock at Bolton Crown Court in July last year.

He was due to stand trial but changed his pleas to guilty to six specimen charges of indecent assault on a wrestling hopeful, when the victim was aged 15 or 16, more than 20 years ago.

He was jailed for 16 months.

Prosecutors said Watson had begun abusing the boy by massaging his legs and body after exercise, using the physical contact as an excuse to brush his arm against his private parts.

Other occasions would see Watson thrusting his groin into the youngster’s face while he performed bench presses.

He later progressed to pulling the boy close to him, while teaching him “relaxation techniques”, and groping and kissing him.

The teenager left his club after Watson abused him while on a competition tour of the United States, when he pulled him close in a hotel room and began rubbing his bottom.

Later the victim, who is now in his late 30s, said his experiences had such an effect on him that he did not allow his own children to participate in organised sports.

Watson has previously been given a seven-year jail sentence, in 1998, for abusing three boys and raping one of them.

He was given a suspended prison term for indecent assaults on boys aged nine to 14, from the early 1990s, in 2010.

And in 2015 he was jailed for four years after he was found to have engaged in similar behaviour while running wrestling classes in Surrey in the early 1980s.

Watson, who has suffered previously from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has more recently battled prostate cancer, was said to have “lost everything” after his last conviction.