An Orthodox Jewish man has been jailed for 14 years for kidnapping and raping his ex-wife even though the allegations had been withdrawn.
The Metropolitan Police have described the so-called “victimless prosecution” – the first rape conviction after allegations had been withdrawn–as a “momentous milestone for rape victims”.
During the trial, the Jewish Chronicle reported prosecution barrister Charlotte Newell describing “strictures” placed upon the victim by her social surroundings, and fear for her place in her community.
The man, who can not been named for legal reasons, had arranged to meet the victim at a property in Hackney on 15 October 2014, where he attacked her with a gas spray which rendered her unconscious.
The man tied her up and took her to a North London warehouse where she was carried, via a passageway hidden in the bottom of a wardrobe, into an underground room. He then cut off her clothes and raped her twice.
Upon waking, the victim was able to untie herself, but was left with no means of escape. She called the police who were eventually able to locate and free her, at which stage they said she was “distressed and disorientated”.
During the trial, the defendant said the ‘dungeon’ was a safe house to be used as a refuge in case of a terrorist attack.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, the victim sent emails to the court during the trial saying she did not intend to pursue the matter further, arguing that “the real victims will be my children” if the case were to continue.
Police officers said they believed she came under “significant pressure” from family members to withdraw the allegations.
Detective Inspector Neil Rawlinson, of the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, described the case as a “momentous milestone for all victims of rape”.
Inspector Rawlinson said: “It is important to note that the victim in this case was fully engaged throughout the police investigation but at the point of the trial, felt unable to attend.
“Due to the overwhelming evidence gathered by my officers, which supported all aspects of the victims account, the CPS agreed to proceed with the trial without the victim – a first of its kind for rape.
The man was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to a maximum of 14 years. A second defendant, Steven Hill, was found not guilty of rape and imprisonment, but may be subject to a retrial on one charge of kidnapping.