News Column

Rape Victim Tells Phil McGraw She Was 'Tied up Like a Fish'

November 5, 2013

The Star (South Africa)

One of three women held in a Cleveland man's home for about a decade says her kidnapper hung her "like a fish" with an extension cord, and he also forced her to help prepare a basement torture chamber for another victim.

"All I could hear was a girl screaming: 'Get off of me,'" Michelle Knight said in pre-released clips from a taped interview that will air today and tomorrow on the Dr Phil show.

Knight said Ariel Castro also used an orange extension cord to tie her neck, hands and feet and hang her along a wall. Castro said he told her he could abuse her "and nobody will care", she said.

"I was tied up like a fish, an ornament on the wall," she told the TV host in a clip released to media.

"That's the only way I can describe it. I was hanging like this," she said, using her finger to draw a swooping U-shape curve in the air.

In another interview clip posted on the show's YouTube channel, Knight said she was told she'd be punished after she tried to escape. She also said her mouth was taped at one point so she wouldn't yell.

The show has said Knight discusses physical, mental and sexual abuse and torture she endured during captivity, including spending weeks in chains, with the celebrity psychologist host Phil McGraw.

Knight was kidnapped in August 2002, when she was 20.

Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus escaped from Ariel Castro's house on May 6 when Berry pushed out a door and called for help.

Knight has been the most public of the kidnap victims since then, and visited Castro's neighbourhood before his home was demolished.

Berry and DeJesus plan to collaborate with a team of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters for a book about their ordeal.

Castro, 53, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

Knight was the only victim to appear at Castro's sentencing.

She told him: "You took 11 years of my life away, but I've got my life back! I spent 11 years in hell. Now your hell is just beginning."

In September, a month into his sentence, Castro was found dead in his cell. His hanging death was ruled a suicide, but a prison report indicated he may have died accidentally while choking himself for a sexual thrill.

It was an abrupt ending to a sordid case that shocked the world with revelations of depravity and brutality carried out in an ordinary home.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1 000 years for raping and beating his victims.

His crimes led to an outpouring of national pity for Berry, now 27; DeJesus, 23; and Knight, 32.

They were abducted separately between 2002 and 2004 at the ages of 14, 16 and 20 and held captive in a working-class neighbourhood of Cleveland.

More than 42kg of chains were found in the filthy, darkened home where the women were kept in locked rooms with boarded-up windows.

Comments posted on the website of the main Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer, were merciless.

"Adios diablo, may you burn for 1,000 years, like you were sentenced," one said.

The Star

(c) 2013 Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited. All rights strictly reserved. Provided by an company

Original headline: Kidnapper, rapist 'hung me like a fish'

Source: (c) 2013 Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited. All rights strictly reserved. Provided by an company

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