A UK court has jailed Nigerian-born professional rugby player, Daniel Igbinedion, 26, for beating and strangling his 35-year-old girlfriend, Katy Lyles.
Katy Lyles suffered repeated attacks by professional sportsman Daniel Igbinedion over two years, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Igbinedion, 26, was convicted of controlling and coercive behaviour and three charges of assault in October.
He was sentenced to three years and three months in jail on Tuesday.
The court heard how Igbinedion’s violent and controlling behaviour had left Ms Lyles scared of what he would do to her and her family.
Speaking after sentencing, she said when she met the the former Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers and Dewsbury Rams player she believed he was a “decent guy”.
But, she said, he quickly became “very possessive and jealous”.
“About six months into our relationship he became physically violent, and showed me that he had a very evil side to him.”
The court heard how Igbinedion, who was arrested in December 2020, carried out the abuse between May 2018 and March 2020.
‘He held me prisoner’
On one occasion Ms. Lyles had dressed for a Christmas party in Liverpool, but kept her coat on all night after Igbinedion belittled and verbally abused her.
“Others tried to persuade her to remove her coat but she kept it on because she was under your control,” Judge Andrew Hatton told the defendant.
Later that evening, Igbinedion threw Ms Lyles over his shoulder, carried her out of a bar and then dragged her through the streets until a doorman intervened.
Following an evening out in Leeds, Igbinedion used both hands around Ms Lyles’ neck to strangle her at his then home in Bingley, West Yorkshire.
The court heard she now suffered with flashbacks, anxiety and sleepless nights.
“He held me prisoner and followed me everywhere,” she said.
The court was told Igbinedion had suffered from mental health issues and, at one point, had been sectioned.
In a letter to the judge, he said he had undertaken an anger management course while in custody and said he was genuinely sorry for his behaviour.
In addition to the jail sentence, the judge issued a five-year restraining order preventing Igbinedion from contacting his victim.
Ms Lyles said she urged anyone in an abusive relationship to get help.
“I came forward in the hope that I would potentially save the life of a future victim,” she said.
“I would encourage anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse to keep notes, take photos and speak to a friend or a family member.
“Please take the first step and report your abuser to the police – your safety will be their priority. Get out of there, but do it safely. There are lots of confidential helplines and groups who can support you.”