Man jailed for 13 years for raping ex-wife in secret 'dungeon'

Victim was kidnapped and left tied up in a warehouse cellar


A Jewish man who kidnapped his ex-wife and raped her in a secret '"dungeon" after refusing to grant her a religious divorce has been jailed for 13 years.

The 62-year-old, who cannot be named, lured the victim to his warehouse and sprayed mace in her face before bundling her in a concealed cellar.

He tied her up, raped her and left her in the dark with loud music blaring from the radio, feeding her only Shredded Wheat.

The woman managed to free herself and call the police on her mobile phone later that day and they found her extremely distressed, half naked and covered in bruises in the cellar in Hackney, east London.

Her former husband claimed the incident was part of a consensual sado-masochistic rape fantasy and said his wife lied about being abducted because he would not grant her a Jewish divorce.

The defendant was originally jailed for 14 years in 2015 but the conviction was quashed and a retrial was ordered

Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, he was convicted by the jury of two counts of rape, false imprisonment and kidnap.

Judge Nicholas Sanders said: "This was intended to punish, humiliate and degrade her.

"I can't be sure why you decided to do this. You decided to do all this before she arrived.

"You left her in the dark, naked with loud music playing and no food to eat.'

The former couple were part of the strictly Orthodox community in north London.

Jurors heard how, although they had been divorced in UK law courts in 2008, the man refused to grant her a get.

On the first day of the 2016 trial the victim failed to appear, having flown to Israel.

She sent letters to police in which she retracted her allegations but the prosecution said they resulted from internal and external pressure on the victim to withdraw from the case.

Both trials went ahead without the victim being called as a witness.

The husband, who had denied the charges, claimed the secret dungeon had been built in case of a terrorist emergency.

But prosecutor Charlotte Newell said it appeared well equipped for her abduction and rape, containing Viagra, a mattress, cable ties and mace.

The court heard the victim was lured to the warehouse under the guise of picking up her granddaughter on 15 October 2014.

Describing her ordeal, the prosecutor said: "Her ankles and her legs were restrained with tape and cable ties.

"She was placed in the concealed dungeon-like room.

The husband raped her before climbing out up a ladder, turning off the lights and closing the trapdoor.

Ms Newell said: "She was alone, naked, and restrained without her phone in the dark with the radio blaring out.

"He left her some water, and some cereal to eat, it was Shredded Wheat, on the floor to share with the cat."

The victim was able to call police after partially freeing herself , escaping the dungeon up the ladder and finding her phone in an adjoining room.

Police managed to rescue her after kicking the door in to the room, where they found her screaming and covered in bruises.

In his closing speech Jonathan Goldberg QC, defending, said the husband and family had not forced the woman to retract her statement.

"There's no evidence that he is pressuring her from prison, we have no evidence that her children pressured her not to come."

But Ms Newell said the defence produced pictures of the woman naked in court "to degrade and rubbish her".

Ms Newell said: "It's clear that the purpose of them waving them around the court room was to say that the sort of women who do that is the sort who might consent to being bound up and gagged in a dungeon.

"She would have to be an Oscar-winning actress and an Oscar-winning playwright to make up this complex set of events."

The husband was given 13 years in jail for two counts of rape, one count of kidnap, and false imprisonment.

He made no comment as he left the dock.

Alleged accomplice Steven Hill, 45, of Stoke Newington, north London, was acquitted of one count of kidnap.

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