Coach Stephen Benson can appeal against rape convictions

Stephen Benson
Image caption Stephen Benson was jailed for 16 years at Ipswich Crown Court in May

A sports coach who raped and sexually assaulted young female athletes can contest his convictions.

Stephen Benson, 51, of Copdock near Ipswich, was jailed for 16 years in May after being found guilty of 19 offences between 1989 and 2011.

His trial at Ipswich Crown Court heard the former Ipswich Harriers Athletics Club coach groomed his three victims.

A judge at the Royal Courts of Justice in London has granted him leave to appeal against conviction.

In March, the jury found Benson guilty of nine rapes and 10 sexual assaults after hearing he abused his position of authority at the athletics club.

The three victims were aged between 15 and 18 when the offences took place.

Benson, who was also a PE teacher at Copleston High School in Ipswich, was found not guilty of two further rape charges.

His case will be heard at the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice, although a date has not been set.

Mr Justice Leggatt refused Benson leave to appeal against his sentence, but said a fresh application could be made at a later date.

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