COACH John Dargie accepts a change in the law may be coming and he welcomes the move.

He said: “I understand why the NSPCC wants to change the law and I fully support that.”

Mr Dargie explained that he embarked on the relationship with Lara Gorman at a stage of his life when he himself was vulnerable.

“Prior to the relationship I’d had a mental breakdown for a variety of reasons, including a marriage breakdown and working 80 to 100 hours a week,” he said.

Read more: Former athlete Lara Gorman backs calls for extended trust laws after teenage relationship with coach

“I’d had five weeks in a psychiatric hospital for chronic depression and a suicide attempt.

“I was aware that while she was under 18 she was over the age of consent. At all times sex was consensual.”

Mr Dargie accepted his mistake but insisted that Miss Gorman acted older than her 16 years. He said: “She worked as a waitress, conducted herself as an adult and insisted she was an adult.

“Looking back, I made an error of judgment. That age gap is obviously thought of by many as wrong. I’m not proud of the couple of years of my life around having a breakdown.

“On reflection now, in a position where I have vastly improved mental health, I consider myself at that time to have been a somewhat vulnerable adult who had a relationship with an adult female.

“Had such a relationship been illegal, it would not have happened.”

Mr Dargie said he is now healthy and able to resume his coaching career.

“I am now in a long-term, stable, happy, committed relationship and have been for some years,” he said.

“My understanding, having gone through effectively a legal process with the Triathlon Scotland disciplinary procedures, is that no law was broken.

“Triathlon Scotland imposed a two year suspension of my membership, but agreed that they didn’t have any power to prevent me from coaching, just not under their remit, and they required me to rejoin Triathlon Scotland membership and to advertise myself as a British Triathlon qualified coach I should re-do coaching qualifications which I did.

Read more: Former athlete Lara Gorman backs calls for extended trust laws after teenage relationship with coach

“I always have up-to-date Disclosure Scotland checks and there is nothing that prevents me working with children.”

“I will do anything to assure people, whatever is required, be it notes from medical professionals or whatever’s asked for.”