Ex-cricket coach Michael Strange is serving another two-year prison sentence

Michael Strange recently became the subject of a review of his activities by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in light of previous convictions for which he remains behind bars.

The defendant, now 63, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for his final sentencing hearing via video link from HMP Northumberland, where he is serving his most recent sentence imposed in January last year.

The Northern Echo:

It follows a guilty plea entered at Sunderland Magistrates Court last month to a single count of indecent assault on a child.

Read more: Durham cricket coach admits further sexual assault

The court heard the last victim to come forward was around 14 years old at the time he was first approached by Strange, although he would have been 15 at the time of the offense in May 1997.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told the court the victim first came into contact with Strange when he approached him at a children’s cricket training session.

Mr Pallister said Strange told the boy he was a scout and offered him the chance to play senior cricket at a club in the Tyneside area, which was “a big step up from the children’s cricket he had previously played.” had”, was.

Strange befriended him and his parents and offered to give the boy rides to and from training.

On the day of the offense the team played a cup game away to Richmond and after the tie all the players and the defendant went out for a drink.

Mr Pallister said the victim thought he had drunk two or three beers and then traveled with the defendant back to his home on Tyneside.

It was agreed that his parents would pick him up around midnight.

While they waited, Strange put pornography on the living room television and began groping the boy’s genital area, first over his clothes and then with full contact in his pants.

Mr Pallister said the victim told police that Strange had been talking about pornography the whole time and it was between 20 minutes and half an hour before the headlights of his parents’ car were visible outside.

When asked, he was told to tell his parents that they had been watching cricket on television.

The victim kept the incident to himself for more than 20 years until he saw a news report about the defendant’s previous crime, prompting him to come forward.

He confided in a friend and then informed the police in January 2022.

During an interview, Strange admitted showing pornography on television and accepted that there must have been some “contact”.

Read more: Review launched after ex-Durham coach admits sexual assault

In his statement of claim, the victim said he now had a son who was about the same age as at the time of the incident and that he also played cricket.

He said he was embarrassed at the time and has felt feelings of “disgust and shame” ever since. The abuse of trust shown by Strange is something he has found difficult to understand ever since.

However, he said that while he was frustrated by his lack of awareness of the risks, he hoped that protection in the sport had improved since then.

The victim added that he hoped the case would now give him a feeling of “closure.”

Mr Pallister said the defendant had four previous convictions for 29 offences, all sexual offences.

The two most recent convictions resulted in prison sentences of 54 and 40 months in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Ian Hudson, representing the defendant, said his client was aware that a custodial sentence was “inevitable” for the latest conviction.

Mr Hudson said a letter he submitted to the court on Strange’s behalf showed his “genuine remorse”.

“None of this is hollow, self-serving and full of self-pity.

“He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”

Mr Hudson pointed out that this incident actually occurred before the commission of the offenses for which the defendant received the 54 month sentence and asked Judge Stephen Earl to take into account the principle of “totality”.

Judge Earl said that at the time of this incident in 1997, his file indicated that the defendant had been committing such offenses since around 1992/93, but it was only in 2012 that he was first brought before the court.

“So this was his fifth victim, but he didn’t make the disclosure to a friend until he was an adult.

“The court has not seen the shame and embarrassment before.

“He said he hopes it shines a light on other people who come forward and says it’s OK to come forward and you’ll be protected afterwards.

“Perpetrators are taken seriously by the courts and punished with appropriate penalties.”

He said that perpetrators like the defendant had positions of trust in sport. the credibility of power over complainants, with the ability to shape behavior “as an authority figure for the purposes of sport.”

“It is very difficult for a young person in the defendant’s home to avoid such behavior.”

Judge Earl imposed a two-year prison sentence, but added that this would be consecutive terms only starting at the end of the sentences Strange had already served.

Following the defendant’s guilty plea last month, Northumbria Police confirmed they had spoken to the ECB and “passed on relevant information”.

The police said: “In doing so, we protect the right of all complainants and victims of sexual offenses to lifelong anonymity, meaning they must not be named or identified in any way.”

Strange has already been placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Lisa Herron of Northumbria Police, said: “Strange, once revered as a ‘hero’ in cricket circles, is a dangerous predator who exploits the boys in his care in the most vile ways. “.

“He has robbed several promising young cricket stars of their innocence. He is the definition of a monster.

“It was never easy for any of his victims to speak out and have to relive this childhood trauma, but on behalf of everyone at Northumbria Police I would like to thank the victims who had the courage to come forward.

“Thanks to your bravery, Strange remained behind bars and exposed for the twisted beast that he is.”

She added: “I would urge every victim of sexual assault, abuse or rape to speak out, regardless of when it happened or who the perpetrator was, because no one should have to deal with abuse alone.”

“We know how difficult it is to speak out and we promise to support you in any way we can. We can offer you support and advice, put you in touch with specially trained Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) and introduce you to support networks.

“And of course we will do everything we can to achieve justice for you. Nobody deserves to suffer.”

Anyone who has been a victim of rape, sexual assault or abuse is asked to contact police on 101 or report using the Tell Us Something page on the Northumbria Police website. In an emergency, always call 999.

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https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23775362.ex-cricket-coach-michael-strange-serve-two-year-sentence/?ref=rss Ex-cricket coach Michael Strange is serving another two-year prison sentence


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