A former British athletics coach, Philip Banning, has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for a number of indecent assaults against young girls in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Banning, 68, of Penhow, south Wales, worked as a coach at Andover athletics club and was described by Judge Keith Cutler in sentencing as a “very well-known young athlete” who was “idolised” by his victims. The Judge at Winchester Crown Court went on to say that Banning was responsible for a “grave abuse of trust”.

Banning pleaded guilty to 18 charges of indecent assault again four girls, three of whom were under the age 16 at the time of the offences. He was ordered to be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

The court was told that Banning carried out his abuse at his home where he would throw ‘parties’ and during ‘sports massages’ and while driving his victims home.

Banning was a Team GB runner in his youth and served as a Welsh national athletics coach from 1995 until 2006.

The abuse team at Leigh Day is currently pursuing claims for a number of survivors who have suffered abuse by sports coaches.

Alison Millar, head of the abuse team at Leigh Day, said:

“It is clear that sexual predators such as Philip Banning have used their roles in sporting clubs for decades to prey on impressionable and ambitious young athletes. Banning, like many others offenders who have been uncovered, used his power and access as a coach to carry out his vile abuse.”