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Crime

Trans champion athlete imprisoned for attempted murder of rugby star after eligibility row

Josh Jackman March 14, 2017

A trans athlete has been imprisoned for the attempted murder of an official after a dispute over whether she could compete as a female athlete.

Jeska, a former British fell-running champion, was sentenced to 18 years in prison after she left former rugby player Ralph Knibbs with life-threatening stab injuries in March last year.

The court heard how Jeska drove from her home in Wales to Knibbs’ office at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium with three knives stowed away in her rucksack.

Taking two of the knives, Jeska walked into UK Athletics’ open-plan office, signed herself in and found Knibbs, the head of HR, before launching into what prosecutors termed a “frenzied” attack.

She repeatedly rained blows down on his head and neck, the court heard, with an eyewitness saying Jeska looked “as though she were trying to skewer meat”.

Richard Atkins QC, for the prosecution, said in court: “The defendant is a transgender athlete in dispute with UK Athletics about eligibility to compete”.

“She had not provided the relevant samples to her testosterone levels and other relevant documentation,” he added.

Because of this, the athlete’s racing results had been declared null and void, the court heard.

A week before the attempted murder, Knibbs had gone to see Jeska at her home to discuss the issue.

Jeska pleaded guilty to attempted murder in September, as well as charges of possession of two kitchen knives and assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Tim Begley and Kevan Taylor.

These two men rushed to help Knibbs, who was never capped for England after refusing to go on tour to South Africa in 1984 because he opposed apartheid.

Sentencing the 42-year-old, of Machynlleth, Powys in west Wales, Judge Simon Drew QC told Jeska she had committed a “cool, calculated attack” which had been “wholly unprovoked”.

More: athletics, attempted murder, Birmingham, imprisoned, prison, ralph knibbs, uk athletics, Wales

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