Gym coach who taught Tower Hamlets youngsters facing jail for sexually assaulting girls

PUBLISHED: 10:56 19 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:47 19 March 2013

One of Britain’s top gymnastics coaches, who taught young pupils from Tower Hamlets schools, is facing jail for sexually abusing seven teenage girls over a 40-year period.

Bob Bellew, 66, who enjoyed a distinguished career and even served on committees planning the London Olympics, was the chief coach of Tower Hamlets Schools Gymnastics and Dance Display Team.

The former Community Coach of the Year taught at schools across the capital and had published books on the sport.

He was even awarded “The Order of the Smile” - a United Nations-recognised citation for “adults distinguished in their love, care and aid of children”.

But for decades the respected coach preyed on the girls he was tutoring, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard on Monday (March 18).

He admitted groping the girls, who were mostly aged between 13 and 14 although one was under 13, between September 18, 1970, and December 14, 2010.

Some of the assaults took place during trips abroad and during gymnastics classes.

Bellew admitted eight of 17 charges against him, involving six victims and stretching back more than 40 years.

He confessed to touching girls’ private parts and rubbing their thighs.

Bellew, of Jerningham Road, New Cross, admitted seven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual touching.

The charges he denies will be left to lie on file, and he will be sentenced for the eight offences he has admitted on April 11.

Judge Joanna Korner told Bellew she was considering imposing a jail term.

He was released on bail on the condition that he does not contact any of the victims.

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