Former South Africa first-class cricketer Dion Taljard, on Thursday (September 14), was sentenced to an 18-year jail term in Manchester after being convicted of rape. The former professional fast-bowler was found guilty of raping the victim 150 times during a horrific ten-year period between 2002 and 2012.

The woman in her testimony said she was too scared to say ‘no’ to Taljard and once even tried to commit suicide.  She further claimed that she kept the horrific torture on her a secret for three years after the ex-cricketer stopped the attacks but eventually mustered the courage to reveal the truth to the police in February 2015.

“You used violence towards this woman over and above even the rapes themselves,” Judge Maurice Greene said at the hearing. “You manipulated her and sent her threatening text messages to her to get your own way… She has had to have counselling since these matters came to light.

“What is clear is that you are particularly liked by many, many people. You were a professional sportsman and I have read nine testimonials from people who say you are honest and trustworthy person. But you were violent towards her and you pose a significant risk of causing significant harm and future offending,” Judge Green added.

Dion Taljard

However, Taljard has denied any wrongdoing with his supporters, led by his current girlfriend Jacqueline Costello, have even set up an online petition in order to raise funds for an appeal.

The 47-year old represented Border for seven years between 1993 and 2000 before moving to Britain. He played 25 first-class games, picking up 60 wickets at 30.93. In 6 List A games, he took 3 wickets. He also played club-level cricket in England, representing Tonge Cricket Club in Bolton, Unsworth Cricket Club in Bury, and Royton Cricket Club in Oldham.