Ariel Castro is sentenced for Cleveland abductions
- 1 August 2013
- From the section US & Canada
One of three women held in an Ohio home for about a decade has told their captor he will "face hell for eternity", as he was jailed.
Michelle Knight, 32, wept as she delivered her victim impact statement before Ariel Castro.
The 53-year-old former school bus driver, who was imprisoned for life without parole plus 1,000 years, told the court he was not a monster.
The court heard he kept his victims chained up and repeatedly raped them.
The captives, Ms Knight, 32, Amanda Berry, 27, and Gina DeJesus, 23, were rescued in May after one of them escaped from the Cleveland home.
'Happy person inside'
Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Michael Russo told Castro there was no place in the world for people who enslave others.
In her statement, Ms Knight told how their captor went to church every Sunday, before coming home to "torture" the women.
"I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning," she said. "You will face hell for eternity.
"From this moment on, I will not let you define me, or affect who I am. I will live on, you will die a little every day."
She was the only victim to speak at the hearing.
Castro then made a rambling statement to the court in which he blamed his sex addiction and the FBI for not properly investigating the kidnappings.
"I believe I am addicted to porn to the point that it really makes me impulsive and I just don't realise what I'm doing is wrong," he said.
The former bandsman continued: "To be a musician and to be a monster like you're trying to say that I am - I don't think I can handle that - I'm a happy person inside."
He told the court that he had been "driven by sex", adding: "I'm not a violent predator… I'm not a monster, I'm a normal person.
"I'm just sick. I have an addiction, just like an alcoholic has an addiction."
He said he never planned to abduct the women, but acted on the spur of the moment when he kidnapped his first victim.
Castro also turned to their families and to Ms Knight to say he was "truly sorry".
'You saved us'
The hearing earlier heard testimony from policewoman Barbara Johnson, one of the officers who found the women.
She said that as she and another officer searched the darkened house, she shone a flashlight on herself so the women could see they were really police.
Ms Knight "literally launched herself" into another officer's arms, Ms Johnson said.
"And she just kept repeating, 'you saved us, you saved us,'" the policewoman told the court.
But Ms DeJesus was initially too afraid to leave her room, she added.
Special Agent Andrew Burke testified that Castro would sometimes give his victims money after raping them. Then he would require them to pay him back if they wanted items from a store.
He said the home's bedroom windows had been boarded shut from the inside, and locks were placed on the outside of the doors.
Several pairs of manacles, used to restrain the women, were found in the house.
Promise of a puppy
Castro abducted the three between 2002-04.
He lured one of them into his home with the promise of a puppy, and enticed another by inviting her to meet his daughter.
The judge banned Castro from ever seeing the daughter, now six years old, whom he fathered with one of the captives.
Other details of the women's ordeals have already emerged.
Castro starved and beat one victim each time she was pregnant until she miscarried - five times.
He forced the same woman on threat of death to deliver safely the child he fathered with another victim on Christmas Day 2006.
He then raped the woman who had helped deliver his daughter.
There are plans to demolish the house where the three were held. They were rescued after Ms Berry kicked open a door and alerted a neighbour.