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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Coach 'wore child's underwear'
Claire Lyte
The tennis coach denies sexually assaulting the girl from Merseyside
A tennis coach accused of having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old admitted wearing the child's knickers.

When police searched Claire Lyte's home they discovered the pink underwear in a gift bag containing massage oil and lotions, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Miss Lyte, 29, denies five counts of sexual activity with a child.

The jury heard that Miss Lyte, who coached at the Lawn Tennis Association's academy in Loughborough, wore the underwear at least twice.

The former coach, from Shirley in Solihull, told the court she did not realise she was wearing them even though they contained the girl's name.

She said: "I wouldn't knowingly wear a pair of her pants with her name tag in them.

"That's what's confusing, that I put them on and didn't notice the name tag."

DNA traced

Miss Lyte, once ranked in tennis's top 500 until injury ended her career, claimed the knickers were innocently left at her house when she had been looking after the girl.

Police traced Miss Lyte's DNA on the knickers.

The coach, who is alleged to have had a sexual affair with the girl during 2005 and 2006, said the pants were mistakenly put in her cupboard after her mother washed them.

The defendant said she did not choose to wear them but picked them out randomly thinking they were her own.

Maintaining that the knickers would be given back to the girl - who cannot be named - she said: "I have my own pink pants as well and wouldn't have differentiated between them."

Teenage infatuation

In October 2005, the child's mother claims she discovered the youngster in bed together with Miss Lyte and engaged in a sexual act.

Asked why the girl would lie to concoct a story, Miss Lyte said: "I have thought long and hard, when I did so much for her with tennis and when her mum couldn't be there.

"The only thing I can come up with is that her mum has persuaded her to agree with these allegations which are just not true."

Mr Davies told the court that a document was discovered in Lyte's room during the police search.

It was a contract written by the girl to the coach in which she had drawn the pair of them in bed together with the words "You" and "Me" over it.

Miss Lyte said she believed the girl was in the grips of a teenage infatuation.

Miss Lyte's defence argues the incident never took place and the allegations had been fabricated by the mother, who was upset the child's tennis career was coming to an end.

The trial continues.



SEE ALSO
Coach admits student shared room
09 Oct 07 |  Merseyside
Coach 'told police she liked men'
08 Oct 07 |  Merseyside
Mother 'saw coach and girl naked'
03 Oct 07 |  Merseyside
Victim sent coach intimate texts
02 Oct 07 |  Merseyside
Girl 'forced into sex with coach'
02 Oct 07 |  Merseyside

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