Mum praises quick thinking of a Soham gym club which led to the speedy conviction of an American cheer leader coach

PUBLISHED: 15:23 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:23 06 November 2018

AN AMERICAN coach who visited the UK to teach cheerleading has been jailed for a year. Chase Fowler, 27, was visiting the UK for work purposes and volunteered as a coach at Affinity Gym in Soham. Picture: CAMBS POLICE

AN AMERICAN coach who visited the UK to teach cheerleading has been jailed for a year. Chase Fowler, 27, was visiting the UK for work purposes and volunteered as a coach at Affinity Gym in Soham. Picture: CAMBS POLICE

Archant

A mum has spoken out to praise the quick thinking actions of a gym club when they discovered a visiting coach had sent an indecent SnapChat to a 14 year old girl.

The mother of the teenager praised the head coach at the Soham gym saying it is thanks to her that the man was caught and convicted so quickly.

Minor celebrity American sports coach, Chase Fowler, 27, who was volunteering at the gymn while visiting the UK, has been jailed for a year.

The mum said: “The quick selfless thinking of head couch Nikki Grey Murphy meant this man was convicted.

“My daughter was able to approach and confide in her enabling the police to investigate in a timely manner.

“The gym and Nikki’s ethos is always regarding the children’s safety and without her complete support this man could be still free walking the streets.

“I am very proud and feel extremely grateful that my daughter has such a place to attend and had the courage to alert when something is wrong.”

Fowler, 27, was visiting this country for work purposes and while here carried out cheer leader coaching at a gym known at the time as Affinity, now called Vogue Ahtletics in Soham.

He came to police attention after one of his students, a girl in her early teens, was contacted by Fowler on Snapchat asking for her to send him a photo of herself, before sending her an indecent image of himself.

The victim immediately blocked Fowler from further contact and told a friend about what had happened.

Detective Constable Martin Hardy said: “This case shows just how serious the police and courts take new legislation relating to engaging in sexual communication with a child.

“The victim in the UK showed great bravery in telling a friend about what had happened which ultimately enabled us to uncover Fowler’s offending and safeguard any further children from his actions.”

Fowler was arrested and on examination of his mobile phone, police found conversations and photos of a sexual nature between Fowler and a 14-year-old girl in America.

In police interview, Fowler claimed he was like a celebrity, or “cheer-lebrity”, on social media in the USA and he would travel around the world to volunteer as a cheerleading coach.

He went on to say the students he coaches are often young and because of his well-known status many of them add him on social media.

On September 18, Fowler, of Back Street in Lakenheath, Suffolk, was charged with two counts of engaging in sexual communications with a child and two counts of making indecent images of a child.

He appeared at Cambridge Crown Court and was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison after admitting the offences at a previous hearing.

He has also been made subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

An NSPCC spokesperson for the East of England said: “Fowler sickeningly attempted to use the trust he gained as a coach to groom a girl for his own sexual gratification.

“Thankfully the young girl knew his predatory actions were wrong so blocked and reported him, ultimately helping put a dangerous offender behind bars where he cannot target other children.

“It’s far too easy for offenders to groom children online which is why the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign is calling on the Government to force tech companies to do more to protect children on the internet.”

• Young people can call Childline 24 hours a day, free of charge on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk for advice and support.

• Information about sexting and how to keep children safe online can be found on the force website here

• If you have concerns about an adult’s relationship with a child, or messages your child is receiving, you can report it by calling 101 or go online at www.cambs.police.uk/report.

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