July 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Former Ipswich athletics coach Stephen Benson has had his appeal against his conviction for sexually abusing three of his protégés turned down.
The 51-year-old, who also taught PE at Copleston High School in Ipswich, was described as having a “darker and sinister” side to his character after being found guilty of a catalogue of abuse.
Benson, who lived in Pearson’s Way, Copdock, was convicted of nine rapes, six indecent assaults, two sex assaults and two counts of sexual activity with a child at the end of his five-week Ipswich Crown Court trial.
Benson was also found not guilty of two rapes. The nationally-renowned youth coach with Ipswich Harriers had denied all 21 charges. The assaults took place over a 20-year-old period with the earliest offence dating back to the 1980s.
At a hearing in London today Benson’s barrister Naomi Perry said they believed there had been a greater weight in the judge’s summing up in favour of the prosecution.
There were also three other evidential points to the appeal that related to the exclusion of some evidence.
On all of the counts the three judges at the Court of Appeal said the submissions were not felt to have made the conviction unsafe.
Lady Justice Sharp said: “In the end we are entirely satisfied that the appellant’s conviction is safe and accordingly his appeal is dismissed.”
Benson’s victims were aged between 15 and 18 at the time. Almost a year to the day after he was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment on May 2 last year.