Football coach admits more child sex offences in case with 200 victims

Norwich Crown Court

Norwich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A football coach who has admitted a string of sexual offences against children is set to be sentenced in December.

Jonathan Clarke, 32, formerly of Highview Close in Blofield, is subject to an ongoing police investigation into his online offending, with officers trying to identify and trace hundreds of children.

Appearing before Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday (July 27) he pleaded guilty to 20 offences against 14 separate victims aged between 12 and 15 spanning more than a decade.

The offences include inciting sexual activity, sexual communication with children and making indecent images of children and are alleged to have happened between December 2010 and January 2022.

Clarke had previously admitted nine charges including inciting a 12-year-old girl to remove her clothes on a video call, sexual communications with children aged 12 and 11 and making 36 category A, 12 category B and 117 category C indecent images and videos of children.

Prosecutor Marc Brown said more charges would be put at a further hearing on October 13 following a “complex investigation with some 180 to 200 perceived victims”.

He told the court the Crown Prosecution Service and police investigators had agreed there would be “one more tranche of charges and that should be enough to give the sentencing judge sufficient powers in this case”.

Judge Maureen Bacon told Clarke, who was appearing via video link from Norwich prison, he should attend court in October “when further charges will be put to you”.

She set a date for him to sentenced for all the offences on December 8. 

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Michael Clare, representing Clarke, said he knew that the “outcome is clearly a very lengthy custodial sentence”. 

He has been remanded in custody.

Clarke was an employee of Soccer Stars at Lingwood Primary School.

He also worked at Thorpe St Andrew High School and as a coach with youth teams at Blofield United Youth Football Club.

As part of their investigation police and the NSPCC set up a free helpline to support children and their families affected.