An inventor who hoped to break the world land speed record in a solar-powered car from London to Brighton has been told he faces a spell in jail for sex attacks on a young girl.
Fifty-two-year-old Nelson Kruschandl abused the 11-year-old girl and sent her saucy Valentine's Day cards.
The planning consultant had denied four charges of indecent assault and sexual assault but was convicted after a trial at Hove Crown Court last week.
The jury heard the attacks took place between 2003 and 2005.
Henrietta Pagett, prosecuting, said the assaults began after the girl went to Kruschandl's home after school.He had a recording studio set up in the living room of The Old Steam House, a former Victorian electricity station in Lime Park, Herstmonceux.
The victim, who cannot be named, said, "To start with I used to just sing. Then he asked me to go to his room for a cuddle. He laid next to me and touched me and I did not know what to do. I did not know that what he was doing was wrong."
The girl, now 15, said on later visits Kruschandl took all but their underwear off and laid next to her on his bed. She said she tried to sit up when Kruschandl started to touch her.
She added, "He said it was alright and to relax and chill out. He knew my age. He would say it was a secret between us and if I told mum she would not understand. He said I was special and that he loved me."
She said more intimate touching took place on later visits.
Kruschandl also sent the girl a Valentine's Day card two years running and one of them said, "Valentine, you take my breath away, feel free to do the same with my clothes."
The sex attacks came to light after the victim told friends who informed teachers at their school in June 2006.
Kruschandl said he loved the girl like a daughter and claimed she had made up the assaults but did not know why.
He also said he had only ever given the girl a hug after picking her up from school but the jury took just under four hours to find him guilty of all four charges.
Kruschandl, defended by Julian Dale, had been planning a run for solar-powered cars later this year.
After he was convicted last week, Kruschandl e-mailed the Hailsham Gazette to say he had retired as co-ordinator from the run.
He said, "I am unable to deal with this event as co-ordinator having retired, however good progress is being made by a new administration."
Judge Cedric Joseph warned Kruschandl he will be sent to prison when he is sentenced on March 5.