Police investigating new sexual abuse allegations against former Durham cricket coach

Northumbria Police is investigating a further report of non-recent abuse by 63-year-old Michael Strange. Credit: PA

Police are looking into new sexual abuse allegations against a former Durham cricket coach.

Northumbria Police are investigating a further report of non-recent abuse by 63-year-old Michael Strange, which is again understood to be in connection to his role as a coach.

Strange was labelled a “monster” by police after he was sentenced for child sexual offences for a fifth time last week, having admitted a charge of indecent assault against a 15-year-old boy dating back to the 1990s.

He admitted the charge at South Shields Magistrates’ Court on August 9, and the following day the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed it would conduct an internally-led review of Strange’s offending.

Strange was a coach in the junior set-up at Durham County Cricket Club and worked as a coach at local clubs in the north-east

The new police investigation is understood to be in the very early stages.

Last Thursday he was handed a two-year extension to the 40-month jail sentence imposed upon him in January 2022.

He had previously been convicted in 2012, 2016 and 2020.

The complainant in the case which concluded last week said in his victim's personal statement he was “disappointed” at the failure of the ECB and other cricketing authorities to identify Strange’s offending earlier.

He said the authorities had failed to protect him “and countless others”.

“I hope safeguarding measures are constantly reviewed to prevent similar incidents in future,” he said.

The man added in his statement: “For over 20 years the actions and behaviour of Michael Strange have been an embarrassing secret.

“I felt disgust, shame and guilt, but never had the courage to speak to anyone until now.”

The officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Lisa Herron of Northumbria Police, said following his sentencing last week: “Strange, once revered as a ‘hero’ in cricket circles, is a dangerous predator who preyed on young boys under his tutorage in the most sickening of ways.

“He robbed multiple promising young cricket stars of their innocence. He is the definition of a monster.”

The ECB faced calls for an independent review from another of Strange’s victims last year.

The ECB said following last week’s sentencing: “The thoughts of everyone at the ECB and within the game are with all the victims of Michael Strange and we applaud and commend their bravery in coming forwards. Everyone should be safe playing cricket.

“Michael Strange has not been involved in cricket since he was suspended from all cricket activity in May 2005, so the full scope of his crimes are only clear to us now. We are distraught that he was able to commit these crimes.

“The landscape of safeguarding has changed enormously in 18 years, but we have worked with statutory partners on this case and we have commenced an internally-led review to establish further information about the environment in which Strange committed his offences within cricket to inform best practice and to further develop ECB’s safeguarding strategy.”

In December 2022, the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit, which audits national governing bodies annually, concluded the ECB is meeting the unit’s safeguarding standards.

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