EL bowler jailed for rape

UK judge gives for­mer Bor­der star 18 years

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - By PETER MARTIN and TELFORD VICE

FAM­ILY and friends of con­victed rapist Dion Tal­jard have thrown their weight be­hind the for­mer Bor­der crick­eter, say­ing they would do all in their power to clear his name.

Tal­jard was sen­tenced to 18 years in jail af­ter be­ing con­victed on 19 counts of rape in Manch­ester, UK, on Wed­nes­day.

The 47-year-old, from a well­known sport­ing fam­ily in East Lon­don, moved to Bri­tain 17 years ago.

Ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence and tes­ti­mony pre­sented to Min­shull Street Crown Court‚ Tal­jard at­tacked a woman‚ who has not been named be­cause she is a vic­tim of sex crime, more than 150 times be­tween 2002 and 2012 be­fore she re­ported him to po­lice in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

“The ma­jor­ity of the rapes hap­pened on a Mon­day when he was at the darts and was drunk‚” pros­e­cu­tor Ni­cholas Clarke told the court.

“He would say ‘I want to have sex with you’‚ ‘you will com­ply’. There were in­nu­mer­able times when they had sex with­out her con­sent.”

Tal­jard’s dis­traught twin brother Mark yes­ter­day said he would do ev­ery­thing in his power to clear his brother’s name.

At first Mark, a prom­i­nent East­ern Cape hockey ad­min­is­tra­tor, was re­luc­tant to talk but even­tu­ally opened up and claimed his twin was in­no­cent.

“We know he is in­no­cent … if the Daily Dis­patch writes any­thing about the case with­out know­ing the true facts, I will sue them,” he vowed.

“My ad­vo­cate in Cape Town will be on the case im­me­di­ately. I know my brother. He would never do any­thing like this at all,” he said.

Mark be­lieves his brother will be re­leased on pa­role in nine years, un­less his name can be cleared, and added that the news of his sen­tenc­ing up­set his par­ents, who live in East Lon­don.

“But we will clear his name,” he vowed.

Tal­jard’s for­mer team­mate and fel­low fast bowler, Ty­ron Hen­der­son, was shocked to hear of the con­vic­tion.

“I just can’t be­lieve it,” he said. “I know ‘Tal­lies’ well. In fact my wife and I have vis­ited him in Eng­land and even stayed over at his house.

“Dion is all heart, there’s not a ma­li­cious bone in his body; he’s a great guy.

“Iron­i­cally, I got my first chance with Bor­der when Dion wasn’t fit enough for a match, and I played back in 1998,” he said.

In sen­tenc­ing Tal­jard‚ Judge Mau­rice Green told him: “You used vi­o­lence to­wards this woman over and above even the rapes them­selves.

“You ma­nip­u­lated her and sent her threat­en­ing text mes­sages to her to get your own way.

“She was afraid of you. On one oc­ca­sion she went miss­ing and had to have a po­lice he­li­copter to look for her.

“She de­scribed her­self as at rock bot­tom and sui­ci­dal. She felt down­graded and in­tim­i­dated on many‚ many oc­ca­sions.

“This was be­cause of what you had done to her.”

The news will shock many who shared dress­ing rooms with Dion dur­ing his pro­fes­sional ca­reer of more than 20 years in South Africa and‚ at club level‚ in Bri­tain.

“What is clear is that you are par­tic­u­larly liked by many‚ many peo­ple‚” Judge Green said.

“You were a pro­fes­sional sports­man and I have read nine tes­ti­mo­ni­als from peo­ple who say you are an hon­est and trust­wor­thy per­son.”

Some of Dion’s sup­port­ers have set up an on­line pe­ti­tion to fund his ap­peal.

“The whole case was planned and thought up by [the vic­tim] who … con­tin­ued on a mis­sion to get him to­tally out of her life‚” ac­cord­ing to “Jus­tice for Dion”‚ which ap­pears to be run by Tal­jard’s girl­friend‚ Jac­que­line Costello.

“She played the sys­tem be­cause she worked in the sys­tem and an in­no­cent man will now never get the chance to see his ag­ing fam­ily in South Africa or his beau­ti­ful three daugh­ters ever again.

“We need to get jus­tice for this won­der­ful‚ car­ing‚ hard­work­ing man who would do any­thing for any­one.”

On Thurs­day morn­ing‚ the site said it had raised £2 400 (about R42 000) of its tar­get of £30 000 (about R526 000).

Julie Rach­man wrote on the web­site: “The truth must come out. I’ve known and was en­gaged to Dion in South Africa. He’s such a gentle­man and would never hurt a soul.”

On his Face­book page Dion claimed he was in­no­cent: “I have not done any of what I have been ac­cused and found guilty of.”

Dion played 25 first-class matches for Bor­der be­tween Oc­to­ber 1993 and Oc­to­ber 1999‚ tak­ing 60 wick­ets at 30.93 with two five-wicket hauls.

One of the lat­ter was claimed against Pak­istan at Buf­falo Park in East Lon­don in Fe­bru­ary 1998‚ when Dion took a ca­reer-best 6/49.

Pic­ture: GALLO IM­AGES

LEGALLY STUMPED: For­mer Bor­der crick­eter Dion Tal­jard has been found guilty of rape in Manch­ester, UK. IN­SET: Dion Tal­jard and his 1998 award

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