Fifty Shades' sex-session assault accused cleared

A man has been cleared of assault after a court heard he whipped a woman in a "master-slave" sex session inspired by erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Steven Lock, 43, and a woman in her 40s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, took part in sado-masochistic role play.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the fantasy went too far as Mr Lock chained the woman up and whipped her with a rope.

But a jury took two hours to clear him of assault causing actual bodily harm.

During the trial, Mr Lock, of Plover Road, Ipswich, was asked by defence counsel Roger Thomson if he and the alleged victim had read Fifty Shades Of Grey by author E L James.

'Like a dog'

He replied: "That's where we got the idea from."

Outside court, Mr Lock, a jeweller, said he was relieved the jury "had seen sense".

"It's the right verdict. This case should never have reached court," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, it was a consensual activity between adults."

Prosecutors alleged that last August, Mr Lock chained the women "like a dog" to his bedroom floor and whipped her repeatedly with a rope.,

She suffered bruising to the buttocks and neck.

He denied assault causing actual bodily harm, saying the woman had consented.

The court heard the woman had signed a contract promising Mr Lock free use of her body.

'Mistimed tackle'

Mr Thomson told jurors Mr Lock accepted he had caused the woman harm, but compared the situation to a football match in which all parties have agreed to take part.

He said: "The issue is 'did she consent and did Mr Lock believe that she consented?'.

"Is this an assault any more than a mistimed tackle in football?

"Fifty Shades Of Grey is not a manual, it's a work of fiction and this is a case which demonstrates that things can go wrong."

Mr Lock told the court the couple had agreed on the code word "red" which was to be used if either of them began to feel uncomfortable.

The woman, who told the court she broke down in tears and screamed as she was beaten 14 times with the rope, never used this word.

She said: "I knew there would be pain involved and I knew I wasn't going to like it but I'd agreed to it and had to follow it through."

Giving evidence, Mr Lock said: "It was supposed to be kinky fun, I didn't want her to cry."

Prosecutor Duncan O'Donnell told jurors: "It was part of a master-slave fantasy and she went there expecting a fantasy when Mr Lock wanted reality."

Judge David Goodin told the jury of 10 men and two women: "You may or may not be familiar with the bestselling work of fiction which has spawned both sequels and imitations.

"What you are concerned with is whether or not the prosecution has proved that the defendant committed a criminal offence."

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