Paedophile coach free to work with children MONTHS after allegationsJuly 7, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: Convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange was free to work with children SIX MONTHS after child sex abuse allegations were made against him
- Police confirmed allegations about Strange were received in November 2004
- It took Northumbria Police until July 2005, eight months on, to inform the ECB
- That meant Strange could work with children despite child sex abuse allegations
Four-time convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange was free to train children up to six months after allegations of child sex abuse were made against him.
Northumbria Police confirmed to Mail Sport that allegations relating to the abuse of young cricketers in the North East by ex-Durham coach and scout Strange were initially received in November 2004.
Though it took them until July 2005 — a further eight months — to inform the ECB. This was two months after the paedophile was arrested in May 2005, which was when the national governing body immediately issued an interim suspension. He was permanently disqualified from all cricket activity in April 2006.
It meant Strange was free to work with children for up to six months despite such serious allegations made against him.
The reason for the police’s prolonged delay in informing the ECB of the matter, especially once he was arrested, is unclear, and a very worrying development.
Four-time convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange was free to train children up to six months after allegations of child sex abuse were made against him, Mail Sport can reveal
Michael Strange, a convicted paedophile, used to work as a coach and scout at Durham
The ECB are facing questions over a report scrutinising child safeguarding measures – with football abuse survivor Andy Woodward (right) questioning if they ‘have something to hide’
It again raises major concerns of the general handling of child sex abuse cases in cricket, which have mounted up in recent years. When approached by Mail Sport, the police changed the date Strange was arrested three separate times.
They are now urging any other potential survivors of Strange to come forward.
It comes after Mail Sport revealed last week that the ECB had contacted Northumbria Police to discuss opening an investigation into the paedophile. The ECB have so far failed to conduct a probe despite Strange receiving four prison terms in a decade — the most recent was just last year.
That followed Mail Sport‘s disclosure that an ECB report scrutinising safeguarding measures just weeks after the Andy Woodward football abuse scandal has still not been released seven years on.
The police now face serious questions into their delayed disclosure, with a probe into Strange now very much a considered option. Strange, an ex-Durham coach and scout in the 1990s, was first convicted to a six-year sentence in 2012 for abusing young cricketers in the North East.
More survivors — there are five in total — were later unearthed over a 10-year period. Some played at Bill Quay cricket club in Gateshead, which is where the paedophile was club captain and coach.
He was then given three further prison terms — in 2016, 2020 and 2022 — increasing his punishment to 13-and-a-half years for the historic offences which all took place between 1990 and 2004.
There has been a spate of high-profile child-related incidents in recent years, including ex-England and Essex coach John Williams convicted in 2017 for possessing such images, and paedophile coach Wasim Aslam being allowed to go on cricket tours with kids despite a previous four-year sentence.
An ECB spokesperson said: ‘The ECB imposed an interim suspension on Michael Strange from all cricket activity in May 2005, as soon as he was arrested and we were informed of the allegations, and he was permanently disqualified from all cricket activity in April 2006.
‘Since becoming aware of the identity of one of Strange’s victims and receiving further information, we have approached our statutory partners in the area to discuss whether a review is necessary. That process remains ongoing.’
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: ‘Michael Strange is a prolific sex offender and thanks to the bravery of his victims, he is now behind bars.
‘This has been a complex series of investigations spanning almost two decades and since Strange’s first conviction, several other victims, who were abused between the ’90s and 2003, also came forward and helped significantly increase his sentence.
‘We can still seek justice for those who have suffered and we actively urge victims to speak out.’
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