A Nigerian-born professional rugby player, Daniel Igbinedion, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment in the UK for subjecting his former girlfriend, Katy Lyles, to a catalogue of abuse including threats to kill her in the relationship which lasted for two years.
The 26-year-old was convicted on Tuesday by Bradford Crown Court, of controlling and coercive behaviour and three charges of assault in October.
The court heard how Igbinedion's violent and controlling behaviour had left the victim scared of what he would do to her and her family.
Igbinedion allegedly dragged Katy Lyles out of a club and tore off her SmartWatch so she couldn't dial 999 before threatening her with a blade.
The 6ft 2inch, 16-stone prop forward, who was on the books at Oldham Roughyeds, Dewsbury Rams and Featherstone Rovers, met the woman when he started as a personal trainer at Nuffield Gym in, Shipley, West Yorkshire, which was opposite her workplace.
According to a report by Daily Mail, after a night out in Leeds, Igbinedion attacked Lyles at his home in Bingley where he 'kept her prisoner' and strangled her with both hands around her neck, leaving her unable to breathe and fearful for her life, the court heard.
Judge Andrew Hatton said Igbinedion had accused the woman of being disrespectful to him and it was clear that he felt himself to be 'somewhat different' to everybody else.
The court heard the woman was in a sense under Igbinedion's spell and the relationship continued despite her seeing a deeply unpleasant side of him.
Judge Hatton jailed Igbinedion for three years and made him subject to a five-year restraining order which bans him from contacting the complainant directly or indirectly.
The court also had heard how, after she dressed up for a Christmas party in Liverpool in December 2018, Igbinedion called Ms Lyles a 'slug' and she spent the rest of the night wearing a coat over her outfit.
The judge said, “Others tried to persuade her to remove her coat but she kept it on because she was under your control.”
On the same night, Igbinedion carried her out of a bar before dragging her through the streets by the arm until a concerned doorman intervened.
Igbinedion spent a night in a police cell over that incident but was not prosecuted and the relationship resumed.
The court heard how on other occasions Igbinedion drove erratically and aggressively pursuing his victim's car and his abusive behaviour led to her threatening to kill herself.
Judge Hatton said Igbinedion had 'drained all the life and resistance out of her' and he had driven her to that state of mind.
Jailing Igbinedion for three years and three months, Judge Hatton said, “I have to deal with you for this sustained course of conduct including gross offences of violence against a background of controlling and coercive behaviour. This whole catalogue of offending was so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified for it.”