Prison for tennis coach who had sex with 13-year-old
A former tennis protege turned coach has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison.
Last month Claire Lyte, 29, was convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a child at Liverpool Crown Court.
During her three week trial, the court heard testimony from the mother of a 13-year-old girl, who caught them in bed together in 2005.
Lyte’s worked as a coach at the Lawn Tennis Association academy in Loughborough, Leicestershire and the girl was one of her pupils.
The jury was shown intimate text messages on Lyte’s mobile phone in which the child declared she “loved” Lyte and “wanted to be with her forever.”
The eight women and four men were also shown a pair of pink knickers, with the victim’s name tag on them, which were found in Lyte’s bedroom.
DNA analysis has suggested that Lyte had been wearing the underwear.
The girl in question, now 15, told the jury that she felt “threatened” into having a lesbian relationship with her tennis coach.
She claimed she had not wanted to be involved sexually with Lyte but was blackmailed.
The BBC reported that she told the court: “I never wanted to do any of it, Lyte told me what to do.
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“She said if I was to say anything to anybody she would hurt me and she would stop my tennis completely and would tell the academy to get rid of me.”
Lyte’s defence argued the claims have been fabricated by the alleged victim’s mother who was angry that the child’s tennis career was proving unsuccessful.
Lyte told police “I like men,” when asked about her sexuality.
Transcripts of the police interview with the former LTA young coach of the year were read to the jury.
Lyte was convicted by a 10-2 majority verdict.
She was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison and is banned from working with children.