August 2002

Olympic coach jailed for sex offences

A former Olympic swimming coach has been jailed for 15 months for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a teenage girl.

Matthew Pedrazzini, 35, used his position as chief swimming coach with Birmingham City Council to “groom” the 15-year-old for his own “sexual gratification”.

Pedrazzini, who had been abused as a boy in Australia, was “deeply ashamed” of his actions.

The girl now suffered from an eating disorder and was taking anti-depressants, the court was told.

Prosecutor Edward Cook said Pedrazzini took the girl to his city centre flat in August 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 then had sex with her again at his flat three more times on subsequent days.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, reported the incidents to another swimming coach, who told her to “put it behind her”.

Following his arrest, officers found indecent images of children on Pedrazzini’s laptop computer.

Tracey Lloyd-Nesling, defending, said he was a “lonely man” who suffered abuse at the hands of Catholic priests in Australia.

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

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 was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and the judge ordered hislaptop computer be destroyed.

Pedrazzini pleaded guilty 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.

The Australian joined Birmingham Swimming Club in January 2000.

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