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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Ohio kidnap trial is told women were raped, starved, and beaten

Jon Swaine Cleveland

Published 10/05/2013 | 05:00

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A handcuffed Ariel Castro shuffled into court as he was charged with inflicting a "horrifying ordeal" on the three women he kidnapped, imprisoned in his home for a decade and repeatedly raped.

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Bedraggled and wearing a baggy navy-blue boiler suit, Mr Castro said nothing and kept his head bowed throughout the three-minute hearing.

"Today, the situation has turned," Brian Murphy, a prosecutor, told Cleveland Municipal Court. "Mr Castro stands before you a captive, in captivity, a prisoner, and the women are free".

Mr Castro, who faces life in prison, was taken from the packed courtroom to a suicide-watch cell at Cuyahoga county jail after being unable to meet bail, which was set by Judge Lauren Moore at $8m (€6.1m).

He was formally charged with kidnapping Amanda Berry, Georgina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and a six-year-old girl, Jocelyn, whom he is believed to have fathered with Miss Berry during her captivity.

Suffering

He was also charged with the repeated sexual assault of Miss Berry, who is now 26, Miss DeJesus (22) and Miss Knight (32), all of whom escaped from his house earlier this week, ending years of suffering.

Mr Murphy said that Mr Castro (52), made "premeditated, deliberate and depraved decisions" to snatch the girls from streets between 2002 and 2004 for "whatever self-satisfying, self-gratifying way he saw fit".

"They suffered repeated beatings, they were bound and restrained and sexually assaulted," said Mr Murphy. "They were never free to leave the residence," which he described as "a prison".

For Mr Castro, Kathleen DeMetz said: "He has lived in the area for 39 years, he is on unemployment compensation and to the best of my knowledge he has no conviction for felonies or serious misdemeanours."

Mr Castro was remanded pending a grand jury hearing and was ordered by the judge to have no contact with his alleged victims or their families.

According to a leaked report by Cleveland police, Mr Castro lured all three women into his car by offering them lifts home, before driving them to his house and locking them away.

It is alleged that he abducted Michelle Knight, then 21, in August 2002. In April 2003, he is said to have picked up Amanda Berry, on the eve of her 17th birthday. And in April 2004, Mr Castro allegedly offered to drive Georgina DeJesus, then 14, to meet his daughter, Arlene, who was her best friend.

His brothers Pedro and Onil, who were arrested with him but not charged with involvement in the kidnappings, appeared in court before him on minor outstanding charges. The pair stood separately from their middle brother.

Pedro Castro (54) pleaded "no contest" to committing a misdemeanour by drinking in public last year. A misdemeanour charge against Onil Castro (50), for alleged drug abuse 12 years ago, was dismissed.

"I want to stress that they have not been charged with anything in this case," Ms DeMetz said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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