May 2009

Married City banker who turned 15-year-old girl ping pong prodigy into ‘sex slave’ is jailed

A City banker who used his position as a top table tennis player to turn a schoolgirl competitor into a sex slave, was jailed for 12 months today.

Gary Tendler, 36, groomed the 15-year-old with explicit text messages before plying her with alcohol, whisking her off to West End bars and clubs and molesting her repeatedly.

The £150,000-a-year banker, who was arrested at the London offices of Dutch bank ABN-AMRO in 2007, met the child at a competition in Lincolnshire.

London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court heard the married father-of-two’s groping sessions in the back of his BMW were interspersed with ‘coaching’ on company table tennis tables meant for staff recreation.

The girl told jurors: ‘The first time it happened I did not particularly want it to happen. I just wanted to keep him happy.’

But eventually their illicit four-month relationship made her so depressed she twice attempted suicide.

Tendler, of Brentwood, Essex, claimed he always thought his victim was over 16, but he was convicted of six counts of sexual activity with a child and one of possessing indecent photographs of a child.

Passing sentence, Judge Inigo Bing told the paedophile: ‘Her father was entitled to expect that when his daughter went to official table tennis events she would not be molested or sexually abused.’

The judge said the girl had been under the age of 16 and ‘had low self esteem and was mourning the premature death of her mother’.

‘She was a young table tennis player and playing table tennis was one of her main interests outside school.

‘You were an elite player, you had status and were looked up to by the younger players. You were more than twice her age and persuaded her to indulge in the most intimate form of sexual activity short of full sexual intercourse.

‘Whether you chose to call it a relationship or not, when it ended she felt let down.

‘You took the risk that the matter be reported, and it was reported. Because of the vulnerabilities of her state of life at the time, the effects of these offences were quite serious for her.’

The judge said there were aggravating features, including the length of time the offences went on for, and that it was an abuse of trust because Tendler was her unofficial coach. 

He said: ‘A further aggravating feature is when you asked her to supply photographs of herself in naked or semi-naked posture.’

He put Tendler on the Sexual Offenders Register for seven years.

The court heard Tendler, one of the highest ranked table tennis players in Britain, lost little time targeting the child after spotting her at the tournament two years ago.

The youngster – herself one of the rising stars of the junior game – explained in a pre-recorded interview she had been flattered to be befriended by such a high-ranking player.

A month after an exchange of mobile numbers saw Tendler bombard her with lewd texts, he collected her from another tournament in his BMW.

He then drove her to a council estate and sexually abused her on the back seat.

Over the next 16 weeks they met a further eight times, including in a restaurant toilet and at the bank’s Liverpool Street offices which had two basement table tennis tables.

The first time they met there she performed a sex act on him while later Tendler ordered staff to leave the post room so he could sexually assault her again.

‘We changed in the office (into table tennis kit) where the post gets sorted. He would ask the postman to leave. He would lock the door because he did not want to be caught at work.’

She said her tormentor insisted he was separated and claimed because they were not having full sex they were not doing anything illegal.

He also pestered her for naked pictures of herself and asked if she had a friend for his 27-year-old mate.

Eventually she became depressed and twice tried to overdose on paracetamol.

After the second attempt, he told her it would be ‘a good idea if we could be friends’.

She recalled: ‘It was like: ‘I’m going to abandon you when you need support. It’s not my problem’.’

Later, when she learnt he was married with two children, she realised she had been ‘used’ and simply treated ‘like a sex object’.

Tendler, who had 12 photographs of the girl posing naked or in her underwear on his computer, insisted he never suspected she was under-aged.

‘She was very mature… She is a very intelligent girl. She certainly looked to me to be 18, but she told me she was 16. I had no reason to believe that she wasn’t 16.’

He added he never had full sex with the girl because he ‘thought her first time should be with someone special and I wasn’t someone special to her’.