Tennis Coach Jailed For Two Years For Sex Abuse

A female tennis coach has been jailed for two years and nine months for sexually abusing a schoolgirl. Claire Lyte, 29, was criticised by the judge at Liverpool Crown Court for telling lies to avoid conviction.

Lyte, of Solihull, West Midlands, had denied four counts of sexual activity with a child.

During the two week trial the court heard the 13-year-old Merseyside girl’s mother caught her daughter and the coach in bed together.

Lyte was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and banned from working with children.

Judge Nigel Seymour said: “In attempting to escape conviction you alleged that three generations of the victim’s family were all part of a wicked conspiracy to get you convicted of crimes you hadn’t committed.

“There wasn’t and never has been such a conspiracy by the family.

“The jury accepted the victim and her family were substantial witnesses of truth and could be relied upon.”

It was revealed in court that days before the girl’s mother found the pair in bed together, Lyte had been given an official warning by her bosses at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

She was later given another warning over her conduct with young players she coached.

After Lyte was found guilty, Judge Nigel Gilmour QC told the jury he had offered the coach the chance to change her pleas at the start of the trial because of “overwhelming evidence” against her.

Lyte, named as Young Coach of the Year in 2001, began a relationship with the girl after they met at a national tennis academy at Loughborough University.

She slept in the same room as her victim at tennis tournaments.

The pair also sent each other intimate text messages, which were used as evidence in court.