EXCLUSIVE: ECB to open probe into four-time convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange after a sixth survivor emerged
- ECB will open a probe into convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange
- MPs are looking to ensure that the investigation into Strange is independent
- Strange was permanently disqualified from all cricket in April 2006
The ECB are to finally open a probe into four-time convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange after a sixth survivor emerged — 17 years after his lifetime ban from cricket.
The shock disclosure at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon, in which ex-Durham coach and scout Strange admitted abusing yet another young cricketer, followed months of sustained revelations by Mail Sport.
And we can now reveal that an investigation will be opened. Though it is unclear why it has taken for a sixth survivor to emerge for the ECB to open a probe, with the paedophile permanently disqualified from all cricket in April 2006.
Questions have also been raised over this review being internally-led, with the findings understood to not be released to the public.
MPs are now calling on the organisation to ensure the investigation into Strange is independent so failures can be properly addressed for the protection of other children — and to see if there are any other survivors.
The ECB are to finally open a probe into four-time convicted paedophile cricket coach Michael Strange after a sixth survivor emerged
Michael Strange, a convicted paedophile, used to work as a coach and scout at Durham
The paedophile was first convicted to a six-year sentence in 2012 for abusing young cricketers in the North East between 1990 and 2004.
Six survivors in total later emerged over a 10-year period. Some played at Bill Quay cricket club in Gateshead, which is where the Strange 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 offences. Strange will now be sentenced for a fifth time on September 7.
Mail Sport revealed last month that Strange was free to train children up to six months after allegations of child sex abuse were made against him.
Mail Sport then disclosed in June that the ECB had contacted Northumbria Police to discuss opening an investigation into the paedophile following our approach.
That followed our discovery that a report scrutinising child safeguarding measures just weeks after the Andy Woodward football abuse scandal in 2016 has still not been released seven years on.
In response to the ECB’s confirmation of a review, MPs have raised concerns about its independence.
Labour MP Sarah Champion said: ‘If the ECB are genuinely committed to safeguarding, it needs to open an independent investigation into how a prolific paedophile could abuse so many children on their watch.
MPs are now calling on the ECB to ensure the investigation into Strange is independent
‘It is highly likely that many more children than the brave six felt able to report the crime were also abused. The ECB needs to rapidly investigate what went so very wrong with their duty to protect children in their care, so it never happens again.
‘Every parent who trusted the ECB to safeguard their child while Strange was a coach will want to know the truth about how this abuse was allowed to occur. The ECB need to do the right thing.’
Labour MP Tony Lloyd said: ‘The cricket authorities have an absolute duty of care to young or vulnerable people playing cricket. They have got to demonstrate in a way that is transparent that they are taking this issue seriously, and that they act.
‘The public is right to demand action and accountability.’
An ECB spokesman said: ‘Our thoughts are with all victims of Michael Strange and we applaud their bravery in coming forwards.
‘While statutory partners do not believe a complex case practice review is warranted, the ECB is now scoping an internally-led review to establish further information about the environment in which Strange committed his offences within cricket, and how this informs ECB safeguarding strategy.’
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm we have spoken with the ECB and shared appropriate information.
‘We would always encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward no matter how long ago this happened.
‘We want victims to know that, regardless of when they do come forward, we are here to support them and are committed to bringing offenders to justice.’