Sex-for-rent landlord, 52, is jailed for a year

Sex-for-rent landlord, 52, is jailed for a year after giving room to suicidal homeless woman he made have sex with him, share his bed, wear a bikini at all times and agree to be tied up

  • Christopher Cox, 53, posted adverts trying to get over 16s to stay with him
  • In return he wanted them to perform sex acts for him and dress in a bikini
  • He was exposed by two undercover reporters working for Jeremy Kyle spin-off
  • When their findings were passed to the police a third victim was discovered
  • Cox is the first landlord to be prosecuted under the new ‘sex-for-rent’ laws 

A landlord who was the first prosecuted under ‘sex-for-rent’ laws was in new accommodation of his own today – after being jailed for making a suicidal woman perform sexual favours for board.

Christopher Cox, 53, offered the woman a free home with him if she agreed to perform sex acts for him involving BDSM, spanking and bondage.

Guildford Crown Court heard 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.

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.

Christopher Cox, 53, posted adverts trying to get over 16s to stay with him, in exchange for sex

He was exposed by two undercover reporters working for Jeremy Kyle spin-off the Kyle Files

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.

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.

Former talk show presenter Jeremy Kyle had been listening in on the undercover meeting live

‘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.

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.’

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.

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, tw*t.’

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.

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 April 1, 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.

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.

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.

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