Tennis coach 'tyrannised daughters to fulfil own ambitions'

A coach "tyrannised" his tennis-playing daughters to fulfil his own sporting ambitions, a court has heard.

John De'Viana is accused of the physical and emotional mistreatment of daughters Monaei and Nephe as he attempted to drive them to become top tennis stars.

At his trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, he was accused of subjecting them to violent and humiliating actions because he was unable to "disentangle dad from coach".

One of the incidents alleged in court involved a time he allegedly dragged Nephe, then aged around 12, behind a curtain where he punched and kicked her while covering her mouth. De'Viana denies that claim.

The 54-year-old claims his daughters fabricated the allegations to get back at him for walking out on the family.

The decorated martial artist denied he was projecting his own ambitions on his daughters and said he had not "tyrannised" the pair.

Prosecutor David Povall said: "The reality is that you became so angry, so frustrated on regular occasions that you would assault them, spit at them, insult them, humiliate them, in order to get them to do what you wanted."

De'Viana earlier denied a list of abusive episodes against the children, claiming he only called Nephe a "f****** dog" in performance notes because she moved "like an animal".

Jurors were previously shown a collection of expletive-laden notes made by De'Viana during their games.

He claimed that the comments, including another referring to Monaei, now 21, as a "f****** idiot" were simply used to "emphasise certain points" in his mind.

He added: "These are coach's notes I have made for myself and my team and during a period of a match when a match goes on at such a rapid pace, I do not have time to make notes."

The defendant's brother, Jude, and the girls' former coach, Gavin Bradford, denied seeing him display hostility to his daughters.

Nephe, now 19, was a poster girl for the Lawn Tennis Association and featured in adverts alongside Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, the court heard.

De'Viana, of Ilford, Essex, denies two counts of child cruelty.

The trial continues.

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