A jealous professional rugby player who beat up his girlfriend and pulled a knife on her during an abusive relationship has been jailed for three years.
Nigerian-born Daniel Igbinedion, 26, dragged insurance broker, Katy Lyles, 35, 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.
But the rugby league ace was ‘possessive and jealous’ from the early stages of the two-year relationship, Bradford Crown Court heard.
After a night out in Leeds, Igbinedion attacked Ms 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 was told.
Igbinedion was found guilty in October of controlling and coercive behaviour and three separate charges of assault against the woman between May 2018 and March 2020.
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 had heard how, after she dressed up for a Christmas party in Liverpool in December 2018, Igbinedion called Ms Lyles a ‘sl*g’ 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.