Gymnast Coach Sentenced For Child Abuse

A gymnastics coach who taught children has been sentenced for sexually abusing seven girls over a 40-year period.

66 year old Bob Bellew was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on the 11th April 2013, to a total of 15 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years.

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

He admitted seven counts of indecent assault and one of sexual touching.

He was sentenced to 9 months' imprisonment on two of the offences - to run concurrently; and 6 months' imprisonment on each of the 6 remaining offences - to run concurrently.

The respective sentences of 9 and 6 months are to run consecutively - giving a total of 15 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He was also made subject of a Sexual Offence Prevention Order [SOPO].

The other charges are left to lie on file.

In the early 1970s he was a primary school teacher in New Cross and he formed a gymnastics club. Five of the victims date from that period, when they were aged between 6 and 11.

Two other victims - teenagers at the time - were abused by Bellew whilst he was the chief coach of Tower Hamlets Schools Gymnastics and Dance Display Team from the mid-1990s to 2010.

Detectives from the MPS Child Abuse Investigation Team began inquiries in early 2011, after some of the victims came forward.

Bellew was arrested on 21 December 2011 and bailed to return pending further inquiries, before being further arrested after new allegations surfaced. He was subsequently charged.

DC Lewi Fenton of the MPS Child Abuse Investigation Team said:

"We must pay tribute to Bellew's victims who had the courage to come forward.

"His abuse has affected them into their adults lives, and we hope today's sentencing will bring some form of closure for them. Bellew is now paying for his crimes which stretched across the decades.

"Bellew taught at schools across the capital, and it is possible that he abused other victims who have not yet come forward.

"We would urge anyone who was assaulted by him to contact their local police station in the first instance. The MPS can be reached on 101."