Football coach pleads guilty to sex charges

Anthony Chattell
Anthony Chattell
  • Anthony Chattell was a prominent football coach at Runshaw College, Preston North End Women’s FC and Accrington Stanley Football Club
  • Pleaded guilty to nine charges including sexual activity with a girl under 16, making indecent images of children, inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and grooming
  • Judge said a prison sentence is “a real likelihood”
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The reputation of a former Runshaw College football coach lays in tatters after he admitted a string of sex charges involving children.

Anthony Chattell, of Fulwood Heights, Preston, who worked at several clubs across Lancashire, appeared before Preston Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on Friday morning.

The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to nine charges in all, and was told that a prison sentence is “a real likelihood”.

Wearing a black coat and with his hair spiked, he stood solemnly in the dock as proceedings took place, watched by people in the public gallery.

Chattell admitted charges including sexual activity with a girl under 16, four counts of making indecent images of children, three of inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and grooming.

The charges relate to several girls, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and are alleged to have been committed between February 2008 and December 2014.

Prosecuting, Paul Brookwell said an application would be made to seek a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).

The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, told Chattell by virtue of his pleas he was now subject to sex offender notification requirements.

He added: “You have pleaded guilty to serious sexual offences involving children.

“You must understand all sentencing options are open, including a custodial sentence.

“You must realise that’s certainly a real likelihood as a result of this offending.”

He granted Chattell bail on the condition he does not access social media sites, has no contact with his alleged victims, or any unsupervised contact with under 18s.

Chattell was a prominent football coach who has worked for a host of clubs including Preston North End Women’s FC and Accrington Stanley Football Club, as well as at Leyland’s Runshaw College.

He is a UEFA B-licensed coach, and has a degree in Sports Coaching.

Chattell was charged earlier this year after an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse. He will return to court to be sentenced on June 5.