August 2023

Football coach who raped girl, 15, in 2006 jailed

A football coach who was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old in 2006 has been jailed for seven years.

Paul Edwards, 62, of Marling Crescent, Farmhill, Stroud, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court for sentencing on Friday 4 August.

Passing sentence, the judge, Recorder Neil Millard told Edwards: “That girl’s life has been changed forever because you raped her.”

Edwards was placed on the sex-offender register for life.

He has also been barred from working with children.

Prosecutor Giles Nelson said that during the summer of 2006 the 15-year-old girl had an argument with her father and sought refuge at the home of some people she knew in Minchinhampton, near Stroud.

“She was distressed when she arrived and was comforted by the occupants. Arrangements were made for her to stay overnight.”

He said that Edwards was in the house and invited the girl to share the bed he was sleeping in. “She woke up a few hours later, to find that Edwards having sex with her.”

The teenager told her sister the following day that she had been raped.

Mr Nelson said: “She was a child who couldn’t have consented to sex. She was also sleeping when Edwards raped her.”

The victim reported the offence in 2020 with Edwards first being tried in January last year. However, the jury was discharged after failing to agree on a verdict.

Edwards was convicted after a retrial at Cirencester Court in June this year.

In an impact statement, the victim said the night was “one of absolute terror”.

“Whatever happens to Edwards now, it will never be enough for what he did to me that night. He has lived a lie for the past 17 years,” she said.

“I have been unable to go through with counselling as some sessions have been too much for me.”

She said that, now Edwards has been sentenced, she hopes to resume counselling.

The Judge Millard told Edwards: “You had been a football coach in the local community for much of your life.

“Your victim was vulnerable. She was distressed. You took advantage of her. You were drunk.

“Her life changed that day because of you. We now know you are a rapist, a child rapist.”