EXCLUSIVE: Ballroom dance champion faces jail over sex offences

EXCLUSIVE: Ballroom dance champion, 38, who faces jail over sex offences against underage girl held a senior position protecting young children from abuse

  • Richard Still was the lead safeguarding officer for the British Dance Council
  • Father-of-one admitted to paying an underage girl to send him sexual images 
  • Also admitted to sexual activity with the girl at Reading Crown Court

A ballroom dance champion who faces jail for string of sex offences against an underage girl held a senior position protecting young children from abuse, it has emerged.

Richard Still was the lead safeguarding officer for the British Dance Council (BDC) – ballroom dancing’s governing body – when he paid a girl to send him sexual images.

The 38-year-old father of one has also admitted sexual activity with the girl when he appeared at Reading Crown Court.

At the time the offences were carried out he held the position of Acting Safeguard Officer while running a Berkshire dance school.

He was appointed by the BDC in May 2022 and his offending began two months later in July 2022. He was arrested in March 2023.

Richard Still, 38, (pictured) who has competed in international Latin and Ballroom dance championships, admitted to asking a girl to send him images that were sexual or erotic in nature in exchange for money paid into her bank account

Four other charges – including making and possessing indecent images of a child and engaging in sexual communication – were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service

 Still competed in international competitions for four years before retiring from competitions in 2010

In his role as safeguarding officer, it was Still’s job to investigate claims by students that they had been abused by their teachers and to prioritise the safety of those learning to dance.

Officials with the British Dance Council are now reviewing all cases he was involved with.

Christopher Hawkins, President of the BDC, said Still’s licences were immediately suspended when the allegations were first made.

He said the BDC had cooperated fully with police and social workers after being made aware of the allegations made against Still.

The former amateur champion has pleaded guilty to four charges involving an underage girl who cannot be named for legal reasons.

He has been forced to close his dance school in Reading, Berkshire, and is now working as a handyman.

As part of his bail conditions ahead of sentencing next month he must live at the home he shares with his dance teacher wife and not be in the company of a child without an adult being present.

In a statement on their Facebook page the BDC President Christopher Hawkins sought to re-assure parents and children that they have acted swiftly.

Hawkins said: ‘On understanding the serious nature of the case brought against him, we also ordered a review into concerns that Richard Still handled whilst he himself held the position of Safeguarding Lead.

‘Mt Still was appointed to the position of Acting Safeguarding Officer for a short period by the former President of the BDC. This appointment was made with no reference to the Board of Directors.

‘The British Dance Council would like to re-assure the dance sector that since the date we became aware of the Richard Still allegations, we immediately suspended his licences as a protective measure.

‘We have also worked closely with the Police and Social Services throughout their investigation. We continue to do so.’

Still, from Earley, near Reading, Berkshire, competed in international tournaments before opening the Vibex Dance Studio near his home.

It has since closed and all branding and signs from the studio removed from the building in Woodley.

He is no longer listed as a director of the company.

Still will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on December 19th.

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