Couple tie up maid for three days after wife's plot to pay Filipino cleaner to have sex with husband so she could divorce him backfires
Published 01/06/2016 | 14:52
A wealthy couple tied up and imprisoned their maid for three days after the wife launched a plot to pay her to sleep with her husband so she could divorce him.
Businessman Zekri Gris, 56, hired the young woman as a cleaner and child-minder for his four children.
But his wife Dina, 35, then offered her money to have sex with her husband and record it - so she could have evidence of infidelity to use against him in a divorce.
The plot backfired and Mr Gris, who owns shops including newsagents and post offices, accused the maid of stealing money from him, Bristol Crown Court heard.
He and his wife - who have four sons aged five, six, seven and 10 - then tied her up in their £650,000 home with rope and handcuffs.
They threatened her with a knife to make her "confess" to stealing £12,000 - even filming the 36-hour ordeal at their home in Bishop Sutton, Somerset.
But after three days, the maid wriggled free of her binds and used the rope to climb out of a window. She was then spotted by a neighbour running down the street wearing just a nightie and the police were called.
Mr Gris pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment and was jailed for three years on Tuesday.
The court heard his wife pleaded guilty to the same charge in December and will be sentenced at a later date.
Sentencing, His Honour Judge Hart said: "You appear to have formed the view that she was responsible for stealing money from you.
"She came downstairs at the request of your wife. You came up behind her with a rope and started to tie her up. She had no idea of what was going on. You tied her up and demanded money. She had no idea what it was about.
"You were not prepared to accept her denials. She was trussed up in that chair and you restrained her in a virtual sense for nearly three days.
"She was either physically prevented from leaving or so intimidated by your manner she was stopped from leaving.
"She was physically intimidated and treated in a degrading fashion. She was subjected to a long period of restricted liberty."
The Filipino woman, known only as "Narissa", started working for the couple after her student visa had expired, the court heard.
Ian Penny, prosecuting, said: "Without a large number of Filipino carers the care system would fail. She was part of the picture and wanted to stay with her sister. She overstayed and became an illegal immigrant.
"Many illegal immigrants they are vulnerable and exploited, whether they are stuck Calais or crossing the ocean in an inflatable dingy or fall into the clutches of the defendant and his wife.
"While it is true they paid her a stipend, when they employed her they knew she was an illegal immigrant and did so anyway."
The woman had been happy as an employee of the family since February 2015 - but was then offered money by Gris's wife to sleep with him, it was said.
Mr Penny said: "Narissa was offered £200 from the other defendant to sleep with her husband to obtain evidence to mount a divorce case."
But then after a family party last June, Gris accused Narissa of stealing £12,000 from him, which she strongly denied.
The court heard how Gris lured her downstairs before grabbing her and taking her to the kitchen to tie her up.
The judge was told he aimed to intimidate her into confessing to the theft, shouting at her, while a large knife lay next to him on the table.
Video footage, taken by Gris's wife, shows the woman sat on a chair and tied up with a blue clothesline while Gris shouts at her, accusing her of stealing thousands of pounds.
The victim can be seen crying, with her head bowed, while she stuttered out indistinguishable words.
Mr Penny said: "The video footage paints a disturbing and unattractive picture. It was just a snippet of an ordeal that lasted many, many hours which began on Wednesday 24 June, 2015 and went on until Friday morning.
"Mr Gris had been in this country long enough to know that it's unacceptable to truss someone up like a chicken, berate them, assault them and terrify them.
"On the video we saw an extraordinary scene in which a man was interrogating a person in a manner which has more resemblance to a World War 2 film than in society today."
Narissa was then taken to another room where she was tied up by her legs and ankles for a "substantial amount of time" with a rope and bound using furry, leopard print handcuffs.
Describing the torment, Mr Penny said: "The defendant lured her into a room with his wife and there they tied her up with blue rope and she was subsequently tied in that rope for a prolonged period of time for three days.
"They then moved into the kitchen where she was assaulted verbally and physically. Quite why the defendant would think a confession obtained in this manner would help him I do not know.
"He had a knife and he would use that knife to stab the table next to her. He said he would kill her and chop her into pieces like a cow."
He went on to describe how the victim had tape stuck over her mouth and that while food was brought to her, she was too frightened to eat.
Mr Penny said: "She was kept in handcuffs which were used by the defendant and his wife in an entirely different context in their marriage. She was being used as a scapegoat. That was the purpose behind his behaviour."
During the ordeal, Gris called Narissa's sister Mary and demanded she come over to the house.
He showed her the "confession video" to try and convince her to pay the money he claimed Narissa had stolen, the court heard.
The pair then refused to take Mary to her sister and said that she had gone out.
But after nearly three days, during which the woman was only allowed to leave the room to be escorted to the bathroom, she managed to loosen herself from the rope and used it to clamber out of the window and escape.
Mr Penny said: "She used the very rope that bound her to escape from the first floor window, acting with such urgency that she burned her hands."
Narissa then fled, wearing just her nightdress and the handcuffs, before running into retired neighbour, who helped the victim and called the police.
The neighbour said that Narissa screamed "Help, help, take me to the police station! A man's after me and they're going to kill me!"
Gris's niece, who did not want to be named, said from his home in Bishop Sutton said the family still believe the money was stolen.
She said: "My uncle said he had the cash because he was going to surprise his wife with a new car.
"They had a fight and he wanted to make it up to her so he got the cash out and left it in the house. He still doesn't know what's happened to it.
"He really regrets what he's done and is very sorry. But it's happened. He pleaded guilty and that's that.
"We're worried for the four kids when Dina is sentenced. We don't want her to go to prison for that reason and neither does my uncle."