A strictly Orthodox man who refuses to grant his ex-wife a religious divorce kidnapped and twice raped her in a dungeon-style cellar, a court has heard.
The 62-year old Stamford Hill man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have carried out the attack in his warehouse on Succot in October 2014.
The man is alleged to have arranged to meet his ex-wife ostensibly so that she could pick up their grandchild, and prosecutors say he worked with co-defendant Steven Hill to spray her face with mace, tie her up and bundle her into the secret room.
“Despite her blurred vision she was able to recognise Mr Hill, who was somebody she had known herself through (her ex-husband) for many years,” said prosecutor Charlotte Newell.
“Hill attempted to put a ball in her mouth and tape over it. The two men tied her by her wrists and ankles with cable ties.” They are then alleged to have carried her through a secret door under the bottom of a wardrobe to the cellar.
The main defendant is accused of raping her in there twice, before leaving. She managed to free herself enough to call police, who broke in to find her “distressed, covered in bruises from head to toe, naked but for a dressing gown and skirt, and still bound by the restraints that had been used to restrain her,” said Newell.
Prosecutors say the woman’s suspicions were aroused beforehand after her ex-husband spoke to her in English to arrange their meeting, “as if he was talking for the benefit of someone else,” when he would typically have spoken to her in Yiddish.
The Chasidic man, who is being represented by top barrister Jonathan Goldberg QC, denies two counts of rape and one count of false imprisonment, but the court heard how he has always refused to grant his ex-wife a get, or religious divorce, despite the pair being legally divorced in 2008.
A previous trial against the two men was held in 2015, but failed to reach a verdict. Hill denies one count of false imprisonment, and the trial is expected to last three weeks.