Gymnasts name GB coach Craig Lowther who ​they claim put them through 'daily humiliation'

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott

ITV News has named a former elite-level coach allegedly involved in the growing scandal of bullying and abuse of young gymnasts. 

Craig Lowther, who was head of British Gymnastics' trampoline and tumbling programme which won Team GB's first ever medal in the event at the Rio Games, has been accused of bullying and emotional abuse. 

Two of his former gymnasts have told ITV News that behind the triumphs he bullied them over their weight and one of them over their sexuality.

One is Charlie Arbuthnot - a former youth British Champion tumbler and another is Amanda Parker, the 2013 World Synchronised Champion trampolinist. 

It comes as several athletes and gymnasts have already broken their silence about their shocking mistreatment they endured during their training. 

A British tumbling champion two years running from the age of 11, Charlie, claimed he was just 12-years-old when he was tormented for his weight and his sexuality by Mr Lowther. 

He described what Mr Lowther allegedly said to him, to ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott: "Fairy. I think he was the only one who called me ​a Poofta uh, he used to call me Charles Gaylord-Arbuthnot. Everyone used to laugh at it as a joke."

Sports Editor Steve Scott and Charlie Arbuthnot. Credit: ITV News

"At that age it was, uh, it was about 12, 13. I didn't really know what sexuality I was at the time, because I wasn't thinking about that."

Charlie also developed a serious eating disorder and other mental health conditions which he says were aggravated by his gymnastics experience.He told ITV News: "I felt like I wasn't strong, starving myself did that."

"I'm still struggling with my eating, I have very rapid mood swings," he added.  

ITV News has been shown an email written by Lowther in 2013 sent to a group of coaches shortly after taking over as head national coach of trampolining and tumbling. 

The copy of an email he sent to a number of personal coaches dated Feb 18, 2013, in which he wrote:

ITV News put the allegations to Mr Lowther, but he declined to comment.

A world trampolining champion - who was coached by Mr Lowther - Amanda Parker told ITV News Mr Lowther "put her through daily humiliation" and she was "abused emotionally". Ms Parker told Sports Editor Steve Scott: "I need to have closure on this now." ​She claimed: "He put me through daily humiliation. I was abused emotionally, I was humiliated in front of others, which have had a lasting effect on myself and my relationships."

She added: "He created this culture of as gymnasts, we never spoke about it amongst ourselves because we had that fear of reprisal or being punished if we spoke out about our experiences."

Ms Parker added: "So it was all sort of kept in the dark amongst ourselves.

"I think at the time I probably didn't recognise or realise what was happening because I'd never experienced or had to deal with anything like this bullying that I was receiving at the time."

She said: "I've always been proud to represent my country, and I've always loved every minute of being out on the world stage. However, his bullying, his humiliation, um, his inappropriate language just made me feel unworthy. And I constantly doubt with myself and my abilities at that time."She eventually launched a joint grievance process in 2016 and British Gymnastics agreed there was potentially a bullying case to answer.

But Mr Lowther resigned and in emails seen by ITV News, Jane Allen wrote this about him after he stepped down: "We would like to thank Craig for his commitment to British Gymnastics and in particular the Trampoline Programme... We ask that you do not make any statements through social media or respond to any questions about the above."

CEO of British Gymnastics' reaction to Craig Lowther resigning from his post.

Reacting to the email Amanda told ITV News: "I am appalled that that's how Jane Allen accepted his resignation for ​a man that should have been dismissed. He's basically getting thanks".

The disciplinary process was dropped when he quit.

A separate independent panel completely exonerated Mr Lowther and allowed him to keep his British Gymnastics membership. 

Mr Lowther refutes all the allegations against him but did not take up the offer to speak to ITV News. 

British Gymnastics said: "Mr Lowther left the employment of British Gymnastics in 2017 and has not had any involvement with the National Trampoline squad since."