June 2018

Female Welsh rugby international faked brain tumour to trick schoolgirl into sex

A teacher has today been jailed for seven years for faking a brain tumour to start a sex fling with a teenage pupil.

Rhian Nokes, 29, was working as a high school sports teacher when she lied about her health problems to a young girl.

Nokes – a top international women’s rugby player – even shaved her head and faked seizures to make her bogus tumour look real to the 13-year-old.

A court heard she spun a web of lies by telling the girl she was terminally ill, her mother had died and that she was a victim of childhood abuse.

After gaining the youngster’s sympathy and trust the pair exchanged mobile numbers and when the girl was 15 they would meet for sex.

But after their relationship ended the pupil told police she had been “manipulated” by Nokes and feared she was targeting other youngsters.

Swansea Crown Court heard Nokes was a talented sportswoman who had played rugby for Wales in the women’s Six Nations rugby and football for Cardiff City.

The court heard she was working as a sports coach leading PE lessons and after school clubs at a high school in South Wales when she met the girl.

Prosecutor Catherine Richards said the girl felt “controlled” by Nokes and “gave up everything” because she feared her teacher might die.

In a victim impact statement the girl said: “I really looked up to her and everything she told me she had achieved.

“When she told me she was terminally ill and had nowhere else to turn to I had nothing else in my mind but to be there for her.

“She controlled every aspect of my life.”

The court heard the girl became a “short tempered teenager” who was confused about her sexual orientation.

The victim also said she turned down the opportunity to represent her country in football because of Nokes’ lies.

She said: “I gave up everything for her because she informed me she was so ill she might not be here long.

“When Rhian confirmed everything was a lie it hurt more than words can describe.

“She took everything from me. My dignity, my trust. I wouldn’t wish the pain and suffering caused by Rhian on anyone else.”

During her trial at Swansea Crown Court, Nokes pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

She also admitted sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

Jailing Nokes, of Neath, South Wales, Judge Paul Thomas QC told her she was a “hero and role model” to her victim.

He said: “She looked up to you as children of that age will because you were a successful sportswoman, an older woman and effectively her teacher.”

Judge Thomas said Nokes “cruelly and methodically” gained her support and made the girl touch her intimately.

He said: “The wickedness is the devastating effect on her young life.

“You took away her childhood. You took away her innocence. You took away her love of football.

“I believe that you were besotted and infatuated with her. The staggering number of text messages you sent to her, 12,000 in less than a year, is clear evidence of that.

“You wanted affection, attention and maybe even romance.”

The court heard the victim had attempted suicide following the abuse she suffered.

Nokes, who cried in the dock, was handed a sexual harm prevention order, will be on the sex offenders register for life and made subject of a restraining order.

Nokes is a registered teacher with the Education Workforce Council and will face being struck off at a later disciplinary hearing.

Six Nations rugby star Nokes was also handed a lifetime ban from playing rugby by Welsh Rugby Union bosses.