David Simmons worked at a number of clubs across west London
A youth rugby coach has been jailed for over three years for 17 sexual offences after being found guilty of filming children in changing rooms and sexually abusing young men in his care.
26–year-old David Simmons of Greystones Road, Sheffield ran a number of half term rugby camps for boys aged eight to 16 under the brands Simmo’s Rugby Starts and Simmo’s All Stars. His company used various rugby clubs and facilities in west London to teach the children.
During the early part of 2014, Simmons employed a former friend who noticed a digital clock stuck on the wall above a toilet in changing facilities and thought that this was an unusual place to position a clock. Later, while going through some drawers, he found five similar clocks in a filing cabinet and when he asked Simmons about them he was told they were there when he moved in.
However, in August 2014 he saw one of the clocks next to a desk used by Simmons. He decided to have a closer look at the clocks in the filing cabinet and found that some of them contained SD memory cards and all had camera lenses positioned at the front. He researched the clocks on the internet and found them to be for sale as 'spy' recording devices and that they could be operated by a remote control. He subsequently found a remote control in a pen pot on Simmons' desk. He confronted Simmons, who said he was unaware of the cameras, however his friend decided to leave the company and in September 2015 reported his suspicions to police.
On 30 September 2015, officers carried out search warrant at Simmons' then home in Ashford and his offices in Teddington. Simmons was arrested at his home for voyeurism and a search found several digital spy cameras concealed in digital clocks and a shower gel bottle which had been cut in half and contain a covert recording device. Police also seized memory cards and laptop computers.
As a result of extensive forensic examination of these items, video recordings were found of Simmons getting boys to undress so he could perform inappropriate and unnecessary body fat percentage tests as well as images of children using the toilet and showers. Simmons has since admitted these were for his own sexual gratification. Officers also recovered a number of indecent photos of children, of which there were 3,025 category A, 3,799 of category B and 36,877 of category C.
He had pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to the offences on Thursday, 4 May and was sentenced at the same court on Thursday, 29 June. He admitted seven counts of voyeurism, one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual assault on a male and three counts of making indecent photograph or pseudo-photographs of a child.
Detective Chief Inspector Zena Marshall, from the Met's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "Simmons abused the trust that was placed in him by both the victims and their parents; this was a terrible betrayal. We have been working closely with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Rugby Football Union, Kingston local authority and the clubs concerned to ensure that support is available to those who have been affected by this case.
"I hope the families can have some satisfaction that Simmons has been brought to account and is now facing the serious consequences of his actions."
Anyone who wishes to obtain advice and support relating to this, or any other child abuse case, should contact the NSPCC dedicated helpline on 0800 731 9256.
June 29, 2017