Tennis coach to stand trial
An international tennis coach and teacher broke off a sexual relationship with a teenager when he became interested in another schoolgirl, a Melbourne court was told.
Gavin Maxwell Hopper, 47, was committed to stand trial on Monday over claims he had sex with a child while working as a teacher at Wesley College in the 1980s.
A committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court was told Hopper, who had coached Mark Philippoussis
and Monica Seles
and now runs a Gold Coast tennis academy with Pat Cash, started a sexual relationship with the girl in 1985 when she was 14.
A friend of the alleged victim, who cannot be identified, said the relationship continued until 1988 when Hopper became interested in one of her classmates.
The witness, another student, said Hopper told the alleged victim he "picked her out" in year seven.
The student said Hopper became flustered when she confronted him late in 1988 and accused him of not planning to fulfil his promise to leave his wife.
"After I persisted he did admit they were like boyfriend and girlfriend, a couple," the witness said.
"I remember his way (of explaining the relationship) at the time was it could have been with any of the girls in year 12 ... it wasn't a big deal."
The mother of the alleged victim broke down as she told the court her daughter told her of her relationship with Hopper in early 1989.
"She said she'd been having an affair with Gavin Hopper for a number of years, since she was 14, and she was in love with him and they were going to spend their life together," she said.
In a statement to police, the mother said she often spoke to Hopper as "a sounding board" when her daughter was at school.
She said he helped her with maths and ran her to and from school.
"If what (the alleged victim) has told me about Gavin Hopper is true, I feel as though I was playing into his hands and handing my daughter to him," she said.
"I feel totally betrayed by the trust I put in him.
"I had no suspicions at all."
Another former student told the court she found Hopper and the alleged victim in a sexual position in his office when she turned up for running training one morning.
The girl was straddling Hopper in a director's chair, "like when you see a scene in a film where two people are having sex", she said.
Hopper is a former physical education teacher who also coached top tennis professionals Wally Masur
, Amanda Coetzer
and Jason Stoltenberg
in 13 years on the world tour, and is a former fitness adviser with AFL club Fitzroy.
Magistrate Reg Marron committed Hopper to stand trial in July on two counts of gross indecency and two of gross indecency on a person under 16 in his care or supervision.
He ruled there was not enough evidence to send a third gross indecency charge to trial.