Only the more ardent South African cricket fans will remember Dion Taljard from his playing days, but now his name is grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Taljard, who played for Border over a six-year period in the 90s before heading to the UK and playing club cricket, was yesterday found guilty on 19 counts of rape and jailed for 18 years.
Times LIVE with some details:
According to evidence and testimony presented to Minshull Street Crown Court‚ Taljard attacked a woman‚ who has not been named‚ 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.”
In sentencing Taljard [below]‚ 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.”
Taljard isn’t going down without a fight, maintaining his innocence, and supporters have set up an online petition to fund his appeal.
“Justice for Dion”, which at the time of writing had raised £2 400 of its target of £30 000, appears to be run by Dion’s girlfriend Jacqueline Costello.
“The whole case was planned and thought up by his ex-wife who didn’t allow him to see his three children for over two years‚ then continued on a mission to get him totally out of her life‚” according to “Justice for Dion”…
“She played the system because she worked in the system and an innocent man will now never get the chance to see his ageing 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.”
Another supporter, Julie Rachman, weighed in with her opinion:
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.”
Taljard himself has claimed that “I have not done any of what I have been accused and found guilty of”.
He was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life, and will serve half of his sentence in prison and remain on licence following his release.
For those who might care, here are his career stats via Cricinfo:
Here’s how that article was wrapped up – their final line:
Back then‚ people would applaud Taljard for clocking up victims. No longer.
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