Pedrazzini – Matthew - Photo2

Australian swimming coach jailed for having sex with pupil

August 29 2002

A former Australian Olympic swimming coach was jailed for 15 months yesterday for unlawful sexual intercourse with one of his 15-year-old pupils.

Matthew Pedrazzini used his position as chief swimming coach for Birmingham City Council to “groom” the teenager for his own “sexual gratification”.

The Australian joined Birmingham Swimming Club in January 2000. He took up the position after two years teaching at an amateur club in Kingston-upon-Hull, in Humberside.

He had previously coached Australian Olympic gold medallists as well as the Malaysian National team at the 1989 Asian Games.

Birmingham Crown Court was told that Pedrazzini, 35, was a strict coach who suffered from “mood swings”. He used methods of humiliation to get results.

Pedrazzini had “bombarded” the girl with up to 50 text messages a day declaring his feelings for her during the summer months of 2000, the court heard.

Edward Cook, prosecuting, said the defendant had taken the girl, who was a talented swimmer, to his city centre flat on August 19, 2000.

“He started to undress her, performed various sexual acts upon her and then carried her to his bedroom. She was a virgin to that moment,” he said.

Pedrazzini, who has no previous convictions, had sex again at his flat three more times on subsequent days, Cook said.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had reported the incidents to a fellow swimming coach, who no longer works for the council. He had told her to “put it behind her”.

Cook said the teenager’s school work was affected by her experiences and she now suffered from an eating disorder and was on anti-depressants.

Following his arrest officers found on Pedrazzini’s laptop computer – given to him by Birmingham City Council – indecent images of young children downloaded from the Internet.

Tracey Lloyd-Nesling, defending, said Pedrazzini was a “lonely man” and had been abused as a young boy by Catholic priests in Australia.

“He is deeply ashamed of what has happened and the way he behaved,” she said.

Sentencing Pedrazzini to 15 months imprisonment, Judge David Matthews, said: “You set upon a course of conduct to persuade this young girl to have sexual intercourse with you.

“For your own sexual gratification you groomed and followed her with the result that on four consecutive days in August 2000 she was persuaded to have sexual intercourse with you.

“It is plain from the evidence that when you did succeed in your objective you showed her little or no affection.”

Pedrazzini, from Trident House, Granville Square, Birmingham, admitted at an earlier hearing to four charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 and 11 charges of possession of indecent images.

Pedrazzini was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and the judge ordered that his laptop computer be destroyed.


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