Sleazy landlord, 53, who was exposed by Jeremy Kyle as demanding women tenants had bondage sex with him is jailed

A SLEAZY landlord who was exposed by Jeremy Kyle for demanding women tenants had BDSM sex with him in return for a room is now behind bars.

Christopher Cox, 53, is the first person ever to be prosecuted for "sex for rent" offences in the UK.


Guildford Crown Court was told Cox offered the woman accommodation if she agreed to perform sexual favours for him involving BDSM, spanking and bondage.

He also forced her to wear bikinis around the house whenever he was home and made her sleep in his bed each night.

He was snared by ITV researchers who dug into "sex-for-rent" practices for an investigation for The Kyle Files.

They found an advert he posted, aimed at “a girl in need” and decided to go undercover.

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The posts said “are you a young girl aged 16 plus who is stuck at home and wants to get away? Maybe you are homeless and can't see a safe way out? I have a free room to live in for a young girl aged 14-28.”

Despite being found out and confronted by Jeremy Kyle, he messaged another woman, who also turned out to be a journalist, just a month later.

Surrey Police became aware of the offending in March 2019, two months after new CPS guidance to help police considering sex-for-rent allegations came into force.

Cox, formerly of Cranleigh, Surrey, but now of no fixed abode, admitted two counts of causing or inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain at earlier hearings.

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The offending took place between May and November 2018 and the charges relate to three separate women.

The first charge, relating a reporter posing as 'Rachel', relates to a period between August to September 2018 while the second offence against another journalist took place in November 2018.

The third offence, relating to a real-life victim who cannot be named for legal reasons, took place between May and June the same year.

Prosecutors only dug up the real arrangement when they examined his phone while probing the Kyle charges.

Ross Talbott, prosecuting, said: "Counts one and two relate to the defendant posting adverts online offering accommodation for 'a girl in need.'

"They said things such as the following 'are you a young girl aged 16 plus who is stuck at home and wants to get away? Maybe you are homeless and can't see a safe way out? I have a free room to live in for a young girl aged 14-28.

"As a result of those adverts the defendant was contacted by women who turned out to be investigative journalists.

"The defendant said the women would need to constantly wear a bikini and provide him with sexual services in return for accommodation.

"There were discussions about bondage.

"The women would need to engage in regular sexual activity with him and tie him up."

He added that during the first meeting it became clear to Cox his first victim, 'Rachel', was an investigative journalist.

CONFRONTED BY JEREMY KYLE

Jeremy Kyle later went up to him and told him he was targeting young women in a way which was both morally wrong and criminal.

He then sent panicked texts to a friend saying 'I don't know what to do, I will end up on TV, everyone will know my dirty secrets,' the court heard.

He later said he “deserved” the humiliation.

Despite this, he put another post up in October 2018 and he was contacted again by an undercover reporter, the jury was told.

He initially declined to meet her but then changed his mind, and she confronted him about his actions.

He sent another text saying 'I got myself into a bit of hot water with ITV and Jeremy Kyle due to my sex for rent tenants, t**t,' the courtroom heard.

As police investigated the charges they were alerted to by ITV, it became clear he had in fact rented a room under the arrangement to a homeless woman, it was revealed during the trial.

The prosecutor added: "She said she was homeless, in poor health and needed a hip replacement.

"She was doing cash in hand work which also included sex work.

"On 1 April 2018 he messaged her saying she needed to sleep in his bed at all times, take part in naked modelling, BDSM and spanking in order to stay in his house.

"In May 2018 she agreed to come and stay with him and he messaged her saying 'you have to wear a bikini at all times. You will be sexually submissive to me, you will spend a lot of your time tied up, I will spank and torture you when you deserve it.'

"She was exactly the sort of woman he set out for. He knew she was homeless, knew she had been involved in sex work and told him he was suicidal."

She told police: "I slept in his bed and I would cry when I was upset if I was by myself.

"Sexual intercourse did take place between us.

"I had to wear a bikini at all times.

"At one point he tied me up and refused to untie me. He did untie me eventually when he realised I was crying.

"I didn't feel like a captive and never thought it was too much. To some extent I was grateful to have a roof over my head."

She later found a job and left without telling him.

Cox, who appeared dressed in a black suit, did not speak at all other than to say “yes” when asked his name at the start of the hearing.

PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS

The court heard he has a previous conviction for assaulting a young boy when he was 18 in the 1980s, for which he was convicted in 2001.

The prosecutor added that the offence carries a maximum of seven years jail but he did not believe the offence merited more than two years behind bars.

Rupert Hallowes, in mitigation for Cox, said he never did and never intended to have sex with the women without their consent.

His client also believed his behaviour was perfectly legal saying 'it is illegal if you say 'I want sex three times a week for a room'. Saying you want to be 'friends with benefits for the room is not illegal.'

He added that Cox suffers from bipolar disorder and depression.

'TARGETING VULNERABLE WOMEN'

Sentencing Cox, Judge Robert Fraser told him: "You were clearly targeting vulnerable women who by definition had significantly reduced choices.

"It is very clear your third victim was highly vulnerable but you made clear those conditions.

"There can be no doubt you were well aware of her desperate situation.

"She was suicidal and you were in no doubt she was in pain.

"Her comments speak volumes about the imbalance in that arrangement.

"You took advantage of her disadvantaged position in what was a wholly unbalanced relationship.

"The fact you did not think it was unlawful shows your willingness to exploit others."

He added: "Your first two sets of offending were cynical: you dangled a carrot at those women who had little choice.

"It is remarkable and says something about your determination to pursue this that you posted further adverts in October."

He was jailed for the count of controlling prostitution for a year.

His six-month jail term for the two counts of causing or inciting prostitution will run concurrently.

Following the sentencing of Christopher Cox, the detectives who led the investigation into the landlord today  commented on his prosecution.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Megan Lightburn said: "Cox has brazenly advertised on a classified ads website offering a room in return for sexual services.

"To take advantage of vulnerable women who are simply looking for an affordable way to put a roof over their heads is utterly despicable.

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"Even after being caught out and challenged by undercover researchers working on a television programme pretending to be interested in his ad, he has still continued to advertise the room.

"The fact that he pleaded guilty to all three charges proves how compelling the evidence against him was, and I can only hope that the sentence he has received today will bring some form of closure for the victim who did end up moving with him and reassure her that he has been brought to justice for his heinous actions."


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