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Crawley Couple Jailed For Torture
A couple from Crawley were jailed on Tuesday for their involvement in the violent torture of a man who stabbed himself in the chest to try to kill himself after being kept prisoner for three days.
The 21-year-old was beaten, whipped and handcuffed, sexually assaulted and made to drink bleach and act like a dog during the ordeal in March 2009.
Anna Wibrew, 24, and Simon Weller, 38, continue to deny their involvement in the abuse, some of which took place in their flat in Crawley, West Sussex.
Five other people have already been jailed over the incident, which is thought to have been motivated because the man had failed to pay his rent.
Sentencing the pair at Hove Crown Court, Judge Charles Kemp told them he was aware that ``some of the most serious and indecently cruel assaults occurred before you joined the conspiracy and after you left it''.
But he added that they were both ``willing participants for a period of 24 hours'' with evidence that Wibrew had been one of the ones to have administered a dose of bleach to the man.
The court heard he had been ``lured'' to a flat in Ifield, Crawley, on March 5 where most of the abuse took place.
Judge Kemp described a ``chilling piece of video'' that was captured on one of the other defendants' mobile phones, which showed the victim handcuffed and cowering in a corner of a room as he was beaten and others cheered.
Nina Fox, who owned the flat, was then heard to urge Wibrew and Weller, who were not present, to come round to join them, which they did the next day before bringing him back to their own flat to carry on the abuse.
During this time he was made to swallow bleach, which made him immediately sick, along with an alcohol drink which also caused him to vomit and was likely to have been spiked, the court heard.
The court heard that after being returned to the original flat, the victim then had his foot broken by a claw hammer and, unable to take the abuse any more, stabbed himself five times in the chest with a kitchen knife.
``Only then was he able to escape from his torment and torture,'' said the judge, as the gang then called an ambulance to take him to hospital.
Wibrew and Weller, who have a six-month-old son together, were both found guilty of a charge of conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and one of false imprisonment following a trial last month.
Judge Kemp sentenced Weller to five years in prison for each count to run concurrently, while Wibrew was given six years for each count to run concurrently, due to her having made the man drink bleach.
The court heard the pair, of Dalton Close, Crawley, did not have any relevant previous convictions, and the 29 days they had already spent in custody would be taken into account.
A Sussex NHS Trust's had it's rating upgraded from "inadequate" to "requires improvement".
Police are reminding supermarket shoppers across Sussex to be on the alert for thieves.
A man has been rescued and a body recovered after a boat sank off the Sussex Coast. Two others are still missing.
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