A landlord who made a homeless woman sleep with him in return for a room is now the first person in England and Wales to be jailed for ‘sex for rent’ offences.
Christopher Cox, 53, targeted vulnerable young women’ to live with him at his home in Cranleigh, Surrey, in 2018.
He reportedly told women to wear bikinis around the house and take part in BDSM, and also sleep in his bed all in exchange for house rent.
His went to a rent agency website online and put up an advert aimed at ‘a girl in need’ and asked ‘if you are a young girl 16-plus who is stuck at home and wants to get away or maybe you are homeless seeking a safe route out, I have a room available in my home for a young girl’.
In the advert he said in return for a place to stay, they were expected to ‘cook, clean, do laundry and possibly more’.
Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday, May 10 heard one of his victims was a homeless woman, who was ‘unwell, desperate, suicidal, needed hip replacement surgery and was in pain.’
In a message to his friends, the prosecutor said Cox described his behaviour as his ‘dirty secret’.
Cops got to know about his behavior after two female undercover reporters from ITV’s The Kyle Files responded to online ads for ‘a girl in need’ in August 2018.
Even after he was confronted by TV cameras, he continued sending out his adverts.
At the time, Cox allegedly told friends: ‘I got myself into a bit of hot water due to my sex-for-rent tenants.’
Surrey Police searched his phone and found evidence of a homeless woman agreeing to an arrangement out of ‘desperation’.
Rupert Hallowes, defending, said his client, who was previously convicted of sexually abusing a young boy in the 1980s, thought his actions were ‘only illegal if he wanted sex three times a week’.
Judge Robert Fraser told Cox his behaviour was a ‘cynical attempt to take advantage of people by ‘very deliberately targeting homeless women who were vulnerable’.
The judge said the crime has now become ‘colloquially known as sex-for-rent’ and ‘this is the first such prosecution that has been brought’.
‘It is remarkable and says something about your determination to continue that you posted further advertisements,’ the judge told Cox.
‘It perhaps says something about the strength of your sexual intention.’
Cox, has been sentenced to one year in prison after he admitted to inciting and controlling prostitution.