A WOMAN who agreed to a sexual encounter inspired by the erotic novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey' had expected "some playful spanking". Instead, she ended up bruised and crying in pain after being "chained up and whipped like a dog", a court heard.
Steven Lock, a gardener, was accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. But he was cleared by a jury after Roger Thomson, defending, told the court: "'Fifty Shades Of Grey' is not a manual: it's a work of fiction, and this is a case which demonstrates that things can go wrong."
Mr Lock (43) told the court that the idea behind his encounter with a woman he met online was taken from author EL James's work.
In what is believed to be the first court case involving a couple tempted by the sexual adventures in the sadomasochistic tale, Mr Lock said that he and the divorcee had taken part in sex sessions before the encounter last August.
Both had read the book and planned a "master and slave" session during which he would lash the woman, who is in her forties.
"It was supposed to be kinky fun, I didn't want her to cry," Mr Lock told Ipswich Crown Court.
Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting, claimed the sex session went too far.
"She went there expecting a fantasy when Mr Lock wanted reality," he said. "She may have expected some playful spanking, to be hit lightly perhaps, but she received a lashing with a rope."
The prosecution claimed that Mr Lock put a rope around the woman's neck and pulled it tight before padlocking her wrist to a chain fastened to his bedroom floor.
He then allegedly ordered her to bend over the bed and struck her 14 times with a rope, causing bruises to her buttocks. The woman claimed he hit her so hard that she heard the rope "whistling" and screamed in pain.Afterwards, Mr Lock had intercourse with her, before leaving her chained up in his bedroom while he went on his computer at his Ipswich home.
The woman managed to send a text to a friend saying she needed help as she had been "chained up and whipped like a dog" and asked him to call the police.
Mr Lock eventually gave her the padlock key and told her to leave after she refused to get into bed. Police saw her in a distressed state in the street as they made their way to the address.
Mr Lock denied putting a rope around the woman's neck and pulling it tight but accepted that he had put a chain around her wrist.
He claimed that he and the woman had agreed to say the word "red" if either felt uncomfortable but neither had done so. He said both had fully understood what was going to happen. The court heard the woman had signed a contract promising Mr Lock free use of her body and entitling him to lash her if she did not follow his rules.
Mr Thomson compared the situation to a football match in which all parties have agreed to take part: "The issue is did she consent and did Mr Lock believe that she consented? Is this an assault any more than a mistimed tackle in football?" (© Daily Telegraph, London)