A West Bromwich Albion coach has told a jury that he felt like his ‘world had caved in’ when he was accused of sexually assaulting two boys.
Mark O’Shea said he had no warning that he was to be arrested and was ‘shocked and scared’ when he realised what he was being accused of.
O’Shea took to the stand in his trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court. He denies six charges of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.
The 35-year-old told the jury: “I was in shock. Very shocked and very scared. I felt like my world had caved in.” He also told the court that he had no previous convictions and had never been interviewed by the police before and found he was ‘nervous and shaky’ during the interview.
O’Shea, of Coles Lane in Sutton Coldfield, moved to the UK from Ireland in 2004 to work at West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
He had originally played Gaelic football in Ireland before becoming a semi-professional football player. He said he loved his job and a colleague had told the court that O’Shea would ‘eat, breathe and sleep football.’
Miss Samantha Forsyth, defending, asked O’Shea: “Up until the point of your arrest by the police had the attitude of (the boys) changed in any way towards you.” O’Shea answered: “Not that I remember, no”. She asked: “Have you ever acted towards (the boys) that could be considered in any way sexual? O’Shea said: “Never”
The jury has previously heard from the two alleged victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who gave evidence via video link.
One of the boys told the court that O’Shea would encourage him to play a ‘blindfold game’.
The mother of one of the victims also gave evidence yesterday. She said when she told her son she needed to ‘sort it out’ her son had begged her not to. The court also heard it was a conversation between friends, which was overheard by an adult, that led to the authorities being alerted to the alleged incidents.
The trial continues.