Teaching assistant jailed for seven years for child sex abuse and banned from playing rugby for life

Rhian Nokes used her position as a gym teacher to groom and sexually abuse a pupil. Credit: South Wales Police

A teaching assistant and former international sportswoman who abused her position of trust to groom and sexually abuse a pupil has today been sentenced to seven years in jail.

Rhian Nokes used her position as a gym teacher to impress the child and lied about having a brain tumour to start the relationship.

The 29-year-old from Taibach initially denied seven charges relating to sexual activity with a child aged 13 to 15, but changed her plea to guilty mid-way through a trial at Swansea Crown Court.

The court heard the victim was in awe of Nokes and began to see her as a trusted friend during the early years of comprehensive school.

Over the course of the next three years, Nokes lied to the pupil about her health and family issues in order to gain sympathy and trust.

She progressed to encouraging the pupil, then aged 15, to meet outside of school and start a sexual relationship.

Nokes was arrested and it was soon established that she had never suffered from cancer.

The victim, who is now an adult, said Nokes had taken 'childhood away'.

Nokes has been banned from playing rugby for life by the Welsh Rugby Union.