22 November 2016
Alleged Abuse Victim Takes Legal Action Against British Athletics
A woman who was allegedly groomed and sexually abused by her coach is taking legal action against British Athletics.
Darrell Bunn, who trained former Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis, was convicted of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the 1980s.
He avoided a jail sentence for sexual assault and child abduction because he was suffering from cancer.
Another of his athletes, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims he started grooming her in 1999 when she was 16 before sexually abusing her. She is now taking legal action against British Athletics and Birchfield Harriers Athletics Club, where she trained, for failing to protect her.
She reported Bunn to British Athletics – then called UK Athletics - in 2003 and he was told he would have to be supervised when coaching girls under the age of 18.
The woman, from the Midlands, went to police in 2013 and gave a statement.
Lawyers representing the victim wrote to British Athletics in January this year but – ten months on – the governing body has failed to respond.
The victim, who is now in her early 30s, said: “It seems to me that British Athletics would simply like this all to go away as they did when I complained 13 years ago.
“It angers me that after all this time I still haven’t had an apology, that’s all I really want. They have always taken the view that they wanted to avoid a drama as he was national coach who looked after Denise Lewis.
“The fact they haven’t even responded to a legal letter 10 months after it was sent shows absolute contempt. What happened to me meant that I lost a massive part of my life that I can never get back. I can’t do anything sport related and watching athletics makes me angry. What happened all those years ago has changed me.”
Richard Scorer, A specialist abuse lawyer from Slater and Gordon, who represent the woman, said: “It is completely outrageous that British Athletics has failed to respond to this claim and we now have no option but to take them to court.
“This has greatly upset out client who now faces the trauma of having to be put through her ordeal again in the court room.” Bunn, who was also a PE teacher, was given a two year suspended sentence in August 2014 after he pleaded guilty to nine counts of sexual assault and two of child abduction.
Bunn has trained star athletes including Olympic gold medal winning heptathlete Denise Lewis, although there is no suggestion the star had any connection to the offences.
He also formerly held the post of national coach for heptathlon and has travelled to Olympic, Commonwealth and European events.
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