This perverted coach promised to make Sarah, now 46, London, a sports star. She shares her story...
Growing up, I was sports mad, into netball, hockey and athletics – but the 1500m was my speciality.
I raced for my school in south-east London, and at county level.
Then, one day in 1984, when I was 14, supply teacher Cyril Carter, then 36, was taking one of my classes.
‘I’ve seen you running on the track,’ he said, smiling.
He chatted to me and other students about sport. But he soon singled me out
‘Do you enjoy sport?’ Mr Carter asked.
‘Yes,’ I grinned, telling him I dreamed of competing for my country.
Mr Carter was a regular substitute teacher at my school.
‘I coach Olympic athletes,’ he told me.
He’d coached the British gymnastics team and judo medal winners, had written books on strength and resistance training.
He’d even trained champion swimmer Sharron Davies.
‘You could be a professional athlete,’ Mr Carter advised me.
He told me I had the potential to compete for Great Britain – and even offered to train me!
He had an impressive record, and it seemed like a dream come true.
Then Mr Carter suggested taking me swimming to build my stamina.
‘Ask your parents first,’ he said.
Excited, I raced home to ask – and, after speaking to Mr Carter, they agreed. As a teacher and proven coach, they’d no reason not to trust him.
During our swimming sessions, Mr Carter put me through my paces.
He’d update my parents on my progress, and I even started sleeping over at his place so we could make my early-morning swimming sessions.
Mr Carter bought me new training gear, too.
‘You’ve got to look the part,’ he said.
Only, one day, on the running track, I pulled a hamstring.
Mr Carter took me into a small room and started stroking my injured thigh. It felt creepy, weird, but I shrugged it off.
He’s just trying to help me, I thought.
Soon, he was giving me regular massages, claiming they were necessary now my muscles were getting stronger.
Then, one day, he slipped his hand inside my training shorts.
Shocked, I pulled away, made an excuse and fled the training centre, alarm bells clanging in my head.
Is this really normal? I panicked.
I’d no idea then that I was being groomed. At 14, I’d no experience of sex – or of professional athletics training.
Worried I was overreacting, and desperate to reach my dreams, I pretended it wasn’t happening.
Only, Mr Carter started touching me more often. He’d abuse me at his house, in the car, in the training ground.
He’d massage me, force his fingers inside my knickers. And he’d make me sit between his legs, grope my breasts.
‘Your chest muscles need massaging, too,’ he’d say.
I felt too scared to speak out.
Then, one day during the summer holidays, we were sitting on the grass after training when, suddenly, he pushed me down, forced his body on top of mine and kissed me passionately.
Terrified, I froze.
After, I tried to stop seeing him.
‘I don’t want to train any more,’ I told him one sleepover night.
He threw a strop, sulked, made me feel guilty for wasting his time.
‘I’m sorry,’ I said, and he threw me on the bed, climbed on top of me and kissed me.
That night, I was terrified he’d sneak into my room.
Unable to take any more, the next time he came to my house, I refused to come out of my room.
My mum came upstairs, looking shocked, horrified.
‘Cyril says he loves you. What’s he talking about?’ she demanded.
But I couldn’t bear to tell her.
‘I don’t know,’ I lied. ‘But I don’t want to train any more.’
Mum was furious, demanded he leave the house.
Sickened at his admission, she contacted the school. But Carter accused us of making it up, of trying to ruin his career.
He blamed me, said I had a crush on him.
I was too scared to speak out about the sexual abuse, so there was nothing more my parents could do.
Rumours circulated around school.
Mr Carter stopped working there shortly after – but, for me, the damage was done.
I quit all sports, and dropped any dreams of an Olympic career.
My trust was destroyed. It was years before I let anyone touch me.
In time, I had three amazing kids, but I struggled to maintain a healthy relationship, suffered from depression and flashbacks.
Even counselling didn’t work.
I felt used, abused. Cyril Carter had stolen my hopes, dreams, childhood.
Eventually, in 2013, my therapist encouraged me to report Cyril Carter to the police.
I agreed. It was the only way I could move on.
My parents were shocked when I told them, but they, my kids and my new boyfriend were all supportive.
Cyril Carter, 68, was arrested at Heathrow airport in June 2014, after returning from Thailand, where he was living.
He was charged – and, in November 2016, went on trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
Carter denied everything, but the jury found him guilty of four counts of indecent assault on a child under 16.
He was jailed for six years and eight months.
He was also issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, preventing him from training or coaching children.
‘Yes!’ I cried, flooded with relief.
I’m still rebuilding my life.
But now everyone knows his name.
Everyone knows Cyril Carter is a perverted monster.