School swimming teacher who sexually abused young girls for 16 years is jailed

A school swimming teacher carried out a long-standing
Robert Rixon's victims were left with deep-rooted trauma, with some resorting to drug abuse. (Media Wales) (Media Wales)

A school swimming teacher who carried out a 16-year "campaign of sexual abuse" on five young girls he taught has been jailed for 25 years.

Robert Rixon's victims were left with deep-rooted psychological trauma, with some resorting to using drugs, and others being pushed to the brink of suicide.

Swansea Crown Court heard how the defendant exploited his status as a swimming instructor to indecently assault girls as young as 11, starting his abuse in the early 2000s.

An investigation was launched in 2018 after a woman came forward to report she had been abused by Rixon as a girl – leading to police identifying four other victims.

Rixon committed over 74 instances of sexual abuse, including one count of rape, the court was told.

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The assaults took place in the swimming pool and in changing rooms, while his victims were wearing their swimsuits.

Rixon, now 74, was charged with 29 counts of sexual assault, to which he pleaded not guilty, forcing his victims to relive their ordeal in court during a 12-day trial in October.

He was found guilty by a unanimous jury on all counts except one, of which he was deemed not guilty on the judge's direction.

He was given a 25-year prison sentence, and must spend at least two-thirds of it in custody.

He also received a special custodial sentence of 10 years concurrent to the 25-year sentence, comprising nine years in prison and one-year extended licence.

A taxi driver was repeatedly stabbed and left for dead by two teenage passengers in a row over a £6 fare. 

Kyle Parsons and Ludvik Rac carried out the vicious attack on the 58-year-old in Swansea on June 29 this year.

Caption: Swansea Crown Court
Harrowing victim impact statements were read out at Swansea Crown Court. (Media Wales) (Media Wales)

Ahead of the sentencing, Rixon was made to listen to statements made by each of his victims, who told how they felt unsafe around men and have trust issues.

Some said they had been struggling with relationships, as well as suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks.

"Not only did you rob me of my innocence, but you have robbed the innocence of my children," his first victim said. "Because of what you did, every day I worry and pass my trauma and anxiety onto them in ways I shouldn't as a parent."

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Another victim said she had dreamed of being a lifeguard when she was little, but Rixon's abuse left her too frightened to go near a swimming pool. She resorted to smoking cannabis to cope with the pain before using hard drugs and self-harming.

"To this day it's impossible to go swimming due to the fear and panic attacks of the changing rooms. The smell of chlorine is too triggering," she said.

The victim said she had been "too scared" to question an adult and was afraid of what he could do to her if she told anyone of her abuse.

She said it took her years to get the courage to tell her family and close friends what had happened, and suffered further trauma when she was accused by the defence of lying in court.

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Rixon sat emotionless in the dock as a barrister read out the testimony of another victim, who said: "There is only one thing I would like you to know Robert Rixon.

"When you are sitting behind bars every Christmas and birthday that your family are enjoying and you are missing. I would like you to know that I will be living my life the way it was intended and I will enjoy Christmas and every birthday with my family.

"I will take gratitude knowing that you will never get to enjoy any of these things again."

Judge Catherine Richards told Rixon: "You were abusing your position of trust. You were calculated and manipulative – these are all the hallmarks of a predatory sexual offender."