Philip Banning, a former Welsh national athletics coach has this week been jailed for seven and a half years, with his name put on the sex offenders register for life, for abusing four girls all under the age of 16, at Andover Athletic Club between 1976 and 1982. Banning, who also represented Great Britain at the 1975 European Indoor Championships, pleaded guilty to 18 counts of indecent assault at Winchester Crown Court. In sentencing, the judge commented that Banning had been ‘idolised’ by his victims and that he was responsible for a ‘grave abuse of trust’.
The court was told that Banning targeted “favourites” to whom he gave “special treatment” whilst coaching at the Club. Banning would then assault the girls during car rides home after training, as well as during sports massages. He also assaulted girls at ‘parties’ that he would throw at his home.
The abuse first emerged when a complainant contacted police in 2017. Three of the survivors in this case, now adult women, read out and directed their victim statements to Banning at court.
Welsh Athletics has released the following statement:
“Welsh Athletics acknowledges the conviction and subsequent sentence handed down to Phil Banning following his appearance at Winchester Crown Court. Officers of Welsh Athletics have been liaising closely with UK Athletics and the Gwent and Hampshire police forces throughout the extended investigation which has led to this verdict.
“Whilst this conviction does not relate to Mr Banning’s time working as a coach in Wales, we encourage anyone with any concerns or further information to contact the NSPCC on their 24 hour helpline 0808 800 5000.
“Welsh Athletics would like to stress the importance that it places on Safeguarding and Child Protection, and will continue to work with UK Athletics, the Child Protection in Sport Unit (NSPCC) and our member clubs to ensure that the sport remains a safe environment for junior and senior athletes alike.”
Written by David Milton, Partner at BLM