Paedophile former teacher used rugby role to groom victim

Keith Ruby during the trial. Photo: South West News Service

Keith Ruby during the trial. Photo: South West News Service - Credit:

PAEDOPHILE former teacher Keith Ruby first met his young victim when he was teaching sport at Sidcot School in 2004.

The 36-year-old was jailed for 10 years on January 4 after being found guilty of 16 sexual offences against the boy.

While he worked at the Winscombe school, which has more than 520 pupils aged from three to 18, Ruby implemented an athletic development programme which allowed him to weigh certain youngsters and measure their body parts after training sessions.

He claimed it was for the purpose of their sporting development, but during the trial Ian Fenny, prosecuting, said the techniques ‘were in effect for him a cloak to mask his interest in teenage boys’.

The strong relationship Ruby developed with his victim, who was described as being ‘in thrall’ to him by Mr Fenny, led to one-on-one coaching sessions, held outside of school and involving massages, which took place after Ruby left his role at Sidcot in January 2005.

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The court heard he began working for the school in November 2003, and had originally only taught there for five to six hours a week, before becoming a senior and junior physical education teacher and a class tutor for the autumn term in 2004.

It was during the individual coaching sessions with the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that the sexual abuse began.

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The trigger for the abuse was the victim’s realisation that he was gay. When the boy confided in trusted teacher Ruby, the older man started asking him questions about his sexuality and then began physically abusing him.

Incidents occurred during massage sessions at the victim’s home, in the changing rooms at both Weston and Winscombe rugby clubs and on an overseas rugby trip, over the course of a year when the youngster was aged 14-15.

The court was told Ruby had worked himself into a position of trust with the victim’s family, who had believed he was giving their son one-on-one sessions to further his development as a rugby player.

The sessions continued until the victim’s father walked in on Ruby giving his son a massage in 2005. He told them further sessions could not be held in the bedroom. And later that year the victim’s mother discovered a text from Ruby to her son, in which he told him to ‘wear his pink bikini’ the next day.

Following a heated row with Ruby, the parents immediately called off the sessions.

A police investigation was launched after a teacher at Sidcot brought the allegations against Ruby to light in October 2005.

A further sexual offence was committed by Ruby on the teenager at the Cheddar Reservoir in Axbridge after the investigation began, and during a following occasion the coach suggested intercourse – at which point the teenager realised the true nature of their relationship.

However, he refused to offer police any testimony on the abuse, and in July 2006 the investigation collapsed as the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to pursue the abuse claims made against Ruby.

When explaining his decision not to help the police seven years ago, the victim told the court: “I was trying to paint a picture that would benefit the defendant.

“I hero-worshipped him, I remember saying he was very trustworthy. I was 14 at the time.

“I needed him to (help me) become proficient at rugby and the abuse I had to keep separate. I didn’t really realise the police were investigating criminal offences.

“I didn’t understand the significance of it. I felt I had to keep the idol that I held.”

Mr Fenny said in court: “He had a very close bond and culture of affection and that’s why he didn’t want to tell anybody about the nature of the relationship he was having with Keith Ruby.

“As he reflects now upon the times we are concerned with he understands what happened was wrong and he feels he was exploited and taken advantage of.”

But in March 2011 the victim confessed to his parents about the abuse, and when they informed the police a fresh investigation was launched.

Ruby, of Biddisham Lane in Biddisham, was arrested on March 19, 2011, and charged in January 2012.

He denied all 20 allegations relating to the victim, but after six hours and nine minutes of deliberation, on December 6 the jury at Taunton found him guilty by majority verdict of 11 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child and five counts of penetrative sexual activity with a child.

They found him not guilty of two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and two counts of sexual assault on a child under 13.

The Mercury had been unable to report on the outcome of the trial until reporting restrictions imposed by a judge at Taunton Crown Court were lifted on January 4.

At the sentencing hearing on Friday, Judge Graham Hume Jones ordered that Ruby serve 10 years in jail.

He was also handed a sexual offences prevention order, forced to sign the sex offences register for life and has been placed on a barring list to prevent him from working with children again in the future.

At the sentencing, Judge Jones said to Ruby: “In my judgement from the evidence you were indulging your own personal ambition and your sexual gratification in your relationship with this boy.

“Not only was this an abuse of trust in the highest measure, it is not hard to imagine the guilt felt by the complainant’s parents on being duped by you.

“When this conduct came to light you denied it and there was confusion in the young man’s mind – a man he had worshipped and being accused by his own parents, the result being that he lied to the police to save your skin.

“Even then you met him twice, one when you abused him further and the final time when you went too far and suggested intercourse which brought the realisation to the complainant as to what your true motive was in this relationship.”

Michael Fitton QC, defending Ruby, offered no mitigation.

The lead officer in the investigation into Ruby’s crimes described him as a ‘manipulative’ man whose abuse left his victim and his family ‘completely distraught’.

Speaking after Ruby was handed a 10-year sentence by Judge Graham Hume Jones at Taunton Crown Court, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Kelvey said the term ‘highlights the severity of the crimes he committed against a vulnerable child while in a position of trust’.

DCI Kelvey added: “This conviction has been achieved because of the tremendous courage of this victim and his family. It has taken great bravery to finally come forward and give evidence at this trial.

“Keith Ruby is a manipulative man who insinuated himself into the lives of this victim and his family. He regularly sat at their dinner table and was welcomed into their lives as a trusted friend, teacher and coach to their son.

“His betrayal and abuse has left them completely distraught.

“In the most calculating fashion, Ruby groomed his victim to gain complete control over him.

“Such was his hold, it has taken six years for his victim to disclose the abuse he suffered at Ruby’s hands.

“The sentence passed by His Honour Judge Jones will ensure that Keith Ruby is finally behind bars for a minimum of 10 years and, as a managed sex offender for the rest of his life, will never work with children again.

“I hope this will encourage other children and young people who have been similarly abused to come forward. We are always here to listen and we will take action.”

Anyone who has been the victim of abuse should contact the force on 101 or 999, or go to

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