Jail for sports ‘role model’
FORMER Maesteg RFC women’s player and Welsh international sportswoman Rhian Nokes has been jailed for abusing a girl after duping her into believing she had cancer.
A WELSH international sportswoman has been jailed for grooming and sexually abusing an underage girl after duping her into believing she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Rhian Nokes, a former Maesteg RFC and Cardiff City player, represented Wales in both football and rugby and also visited schools as a sports coach.
It was at one of those schools that she met a football-mad youngster who looked up to her as a role model.
Nokes befriended her but began to spin a web of lies about having a brain tumour. The lie even saw her shaving her hair and faking seizures to convince the girl of the tale.
She bombarded her victim with text messages – sending around 12,000 in just a year.
And, in light of her false cancer “secret”, Nokes persuaded the teenager to touch her sexually.
On a number of occasions Nokes, who played for rugby side Maesteg Celtic, performed a sex act on the girl or got the girl to perform a sex act on her.
The teenager subsequently reported the abuse when she became concerned about the way Nokes was behaving towards another girl.
Nokes, 29, of Wesley Place, Taibach, Port Tal- bot, had already pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity ahead of her sentencing at Swansea Crown Court yesterday.
In an impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Catherine Richards, the victim, who is now an adult, said Nokes had manipulated and controlled her, and taken away her childhood.
She said: “When Rhian told me she was terminally ill and had no-one else to turn to, I had nothing else on my mind but wanting to be there for her, I felt like her only hope and support mechanism.”
She added: “I gave up everything for her because she would inform me that she was so ill she wouldn’t be here long...
“When Rhian confirmed everything was a lie, it hurt more than words could ever describe, but I guess at first I did not realise how serious or calculated the situation was.”
Caroline Rees, for Nokes, said a psychological report into her client concluded she had suffered from feelings of isolation as a child and that she had never got over the grief of losing her grandfather.
The barrister added: “She is sorry and she knows she did wrong.”
Judge Paul Thomas QC told the defendant she had groomed her victim, “calculatingly and methodically” deceiving the girl to get sympathy.
Nokes was sentenced to a total of seven years in prison, half of which she will serve in custody before being released on licence.
She was also made the subject of sexual harm prevention order, and will be on the sex offenders’ register for life. Judge Thomas also made a restraining order banning Nokes from contacting her victim indefinitely.
She added: “Nokes initially denied being involved in a sexual relationship with the pupil. However, as a result of the bravery of the victim giving evidence at trial and overwhelming telephone evidence to support the pupil’s account, she changed her plea to guilty to all the offences.”
Rhian Nokes from Port Talbot was sentenced to seven years for sexually abusing a girl she met while working as football coach
Nokes played rugby and football for Wales women teams