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Athletics coach jailed for abusing schoolgirls in Andover

An athletics coach, who abused schoolgirls in Andover in the 1970s and 80s, has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Philip Banning, from Meadowlands Close in Penhow in Wales, admitted 18 counts of indecent assault against four girls under the age of 16.

His guilty pleas, which were entered on the first day of his trial, follow a lengthy investigation carried out by the Operation Marmion team, who specialise in investigating non-recent child sex abuse.

Prosecutor Tim Moores told the court that Banning had been an ‘Olympic hopeful’ in his younger years, running at an international level for Team GB before returning to Andover Athletics Club as a qualified coach where he met the four girls. 

In sentencing at Winchester Crown Court today, the judge said Banning had been responsible for a 'grave misuse of trust'.

Hampshire Police Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Toby Elcock, said:

“After initially denying the offences, Banning has now taken responsibility for his horrific reign of abuse, which has spared the victims having to go through a difficult trial process.

“For these girls, this should have been an important time in their young lives. They were schoolchildren exploring their passion for sport, and this was ruined by Banning’s appalling sexual appetite.

“I hope they can now rest assured that justice has been served, and Banning will not be able to harm another child.”

The NSPCC has given its reaction to the sentencing.

An NSPCC spokesperson said:

“As a former sports coach Banning held positions of great responsibility over children and would have been aware of the importance of safeguarding.

“But he took advantage of his role and committed horrific acts against children for his own gratification.

“This case shows once again how survivors of past abuse can achieve justice when they speak out and it is vital that the victims of Banning’s crimes receive all necessary support to recover from what happened.”

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