England

Fake photographer jailed for raping would-be models

Phillip Brindle
Image caption Brindle must serve a minimum term of 11 years

A man who persuaded young women to model for photographs before drugging them and filming himself attacking them has been jailed for life.

Phillip Brindle, 54, carried out the offences at his former home in Wigan, Greater Manchester, from 1992 to 1998.

The taxi driver, of Ladock, Cornwall, had denied two counts of rape and six of indecent assault.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that his wife Victoria - now deceased - had helped with the attacks.

Checked eyelids

The court heard that Brindle posed as a photographer who wanted to help his victims' modelling careers, assisted by his wife.

She helped to persuade them to pose, drugged them and then manipulated their naked limbs so Brindle could film the shocking abuse, jurors were told.

But she died from deep vein thrombosis in July 2008 before she could be brought to justice.

The films were found in a storage shed, which Brindle had rented in Tregony, Cornwall, in November 2008. Police also found a list of girls' names entitled "hobbies".

The films showed him checking the girls' eyelids to ensure they would not wake up while he was degrading them.

Devon and Cornwall Police managed to trace five women from the footage and charges were brought for the abuse of them.

He had filmed at least three other women but two could not be traced and another was too ill to help the investigation.

The court heard that he targeted teenagers with low self-esteem and promised them modelling careers.

'Sexual deviant'

Kannan Siva, prosecuting, said: "He systematically sexually abused some very young women, predominantly teenagers.

"He had no interest in developing portfolios for these young women, not to their knowledge anyway.

"He would film them when they were drugged, stupefied and in obvious oblivion."

Brindle made the victims sign what he termed "model release forms".

The court heard that one of the forms related to an 18-year-old he had a consensual sexual relationship with.

A handwritten note attached stated: "I agree to wear whatever Phillip Brindle tells me to... and to keep myself wholly for him. I sign this of my own free will and without any coercion."

Brindle refused to attend court during his trial and for his sentencing on Friday.

Judge Mark Brown, sentencing, described him as an arch manipulator and "sexual predator".

"In my judgment, Phillip Brindle has demonstrated that he is a very dangerous man and I identify relationships with women, distorted thinking, lack of victim empathy, the desire to control and manipulate and sexual deviancy as key-risk areas."

Brindle must serve a minimum of 11 years before he can apply for parole and he has been placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Stuart Ellis, of Devon and Cornwall, Police, said both Brindle and his wife had preyed on the women in the Pemberton area, subjecting them to "horrific ordeals".

"Brindle's victims have been living with this ordeal for the past 15 years and we should commend their bravery and courage in coming forward and bringing Brindle to justice."

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