Sussex

Torture couple Anna Wibrew and Simon Weller jailed

Anna Wibrew and Simon Weller
Image caption Wibrew and Weller were both "willing participants" in the attack, the judge said

A couple have been jailed for their part in the torture of a man who stabbed himself in the chest to try to kill himself after being kept prisoner.

The 21-year-old was beaten, whipped, handcuffed, sexually assaulted and made to drink bleach during the ordeal.

Anna Wibrew, 24, and Simon Weller, 38, of Crawley, were convicted of conspiracy to inflict grievous bodily harm and false imprisonment.

Hove Crown Court was told five others were jailed last year over the attack.

The motive for targeting the victim in March 2009 is thought to have been revenge for a failure to pay rent.

'Willing participants'

Wibrew, of Keir Hardie House in Dalton Close, was jailed for six years. Weller, of the same address, was jailed for five.

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 they were both "willing participants for a period of 24 hours".

He said there was evidence Wibrew had been one of the ones to have administered a dose of bleach to the man.

The court heard the victim was "lured" to a flat in Ifield, Crawley, on 5 March where most of the abuse took place.

The next day, he was taken to Wibrew and Weller's flat, where he was made to swallow bleach along with an alcoholic drink.

The court heard that after being returned to the original flat, the victim then had his foot broken by a claw hammer.

'Hideous acts'

Unable to take the abuse any more, he stabbed himself five times in the chest with a kitchen knife, the jury was told.

The gang then called an ambulance to take him to hospital, making up a story he had been attacked elsewhere.

Wibrew and Weller, who have a six-month-old child, were both found guilty following a trial last month.

Five other people - four women and one man - were jailed for a total of 40 years in March last year, police said.

Det Con Stuart MacPherson, of Sussex Police, said it was the "nastiest case" he had dealt with in his career.

"That seven people could inflict such hideous acts against another person is simply beyond me and defies belief," he said.

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