A strictly Orthodox man found guilty of the kidnap, rape and false imprisonment of his ex-wife has been jailed for 14 years.
The man, in his sixties, showed no emotion as Judge Nigel Peters passed sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday.
In addition to two 14-year sentences for two counts of rape, he was sentenced to seven years for kidnap and false imprisonment. The sentences will run concurrently.
Asking the judge to apply the strictest sentencing guidelines, prosecutor Charlotte Newell said the offences showed a significant degree of planning, and an abuse of power over the woman.
The rape victim, she said, was “particularly vulnerable due to the nature of her relationship with the defendant and the cultural restrictions within which they operated”.
Defending barrister Jonathan Goldberg told the judge his client may have acted in the heat of the moment following a discussion with his ex-wife about the paternity of two of their children.
“A husband discovering one and possibly two of his beloved children are or may not be his is grave provocation and mitigation and explains this extraordinary behaviour on the day in question,” he said.
The defence barrister also invited the judge to consider the effect of the man spending time on remand, where, according to Mr Goldberg, as a Charedi Jew he had been mocked and jeered at for his appearance by eastern European and Muslim prisoners.
In passing sentence, Judge Peters told the man: “You have planned and committed an act of great degradation and great cruelty in locking up your ex-wife, having tied her down and raped her.”
Judge Peters said the man had lured his wife to his warehouse under the pretext of looking after his granddaughter, before spraying her with mace, tying her up, and bundling her into what was described as a “dungeon”.
The imprisonment of the woman in the warehouse following her rape was, according to the judge, the “major aggravating factor” of what he described as “one of the more extreme and unpleasant cases to come before the courts”.
“There was no excuse or reason you could properly give, as to why you didn’t cut the ties that were holding her down. You left the premises to get back to a young child and to cook your son a meal very shortly before [the start of a religious] festival and you left her there in darkness in the lower part of the safe room tied up,” he said.
DI Neil Rawlinson of the Metropolitan Police’s sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: “This verdict marks a momentous milestone for all victims of rape.
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. My officers worked tirelessly with forensic experts to gather and present the best evidence possible, with their tenacity being reflected in this outstanding outcome at court.
“Offenders often exert power and control to silence their victims but this sentence shows that we can give scared victims a voice and bring offenders to justice despite their perceived power.
I would urge anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault to report to police – we can provide specially trained officers to support victims and obtain the best evidence possible.”
Investigating officer DC Adam Knott said: “This case clearly demonstrates that we will do all we can to prosecute offenders of this horrendous crime.
By gathering evidence from a variety of sources we have shown that it is possible to bring offenders to justice even without live victim testimony in court.
I am pleased the jury saw through the deception portrayed by the defendant and came to the right decision.”
A co-defendant was cleared on Friday of aiding and abetting the first defendant in committing rape and false imprisonment.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge of aiding and abetting kidnap against the man. Prosecutors have until next week to ask for a re-trial.