A pervert landlord who “rented” a room to a vulnerable young woman in exchange for sex has today become the first to have been prosecuted under new “sex-for-rent” laws.

At Guildford Crown Court Christopher Cox was jailed for 12 months on a charge of controlling prostitution and was also handed a six-month prison term for two counts of causing or inciting prostitution which will run concurrently.

Cox, 53, posted an advert which read: “Are you a young girl aged 16 plus who is stuck at home and wants to get away?

“Maybe you are homeless and can't see a safe way out? I have a free room to live in for a young girl aged 14-28.”

One young woman who replied to his ad was offered “free” accommodation in exchange for regular sex acts including bondage and spanking.

Cox was rumbled by researchers for Jeremy Kyle’s ITV show The Kyle Files in 2018. Despite being exposed, Cox went on to message another woman – who also turned out to be an undercover journalist.

Surrey Police were notified about Cox’s offending in March 2019, two months after new Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance on allegations of so-called “sex-for-rent” cases was issued.

Cox messaged a friend saying that he was worried that “all his dirty secrets would come out” because of Jeremy Kyle’s involvement.

But despite having been caught twice, Cox went on to ensnare a vulnerable young woman in his sick scheme between May and June 2018.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was forced to wear bikinis around the house whenever he was home and had to sleep in Cox’s bed.

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Prosecutor Ross Talbott told the court: “She said she was homeless, in poor health and needed a hip replacement. She was doing cash in hand work which also included sex work.

“On April 1, 2018, he messaged her saying she needed to sleep in his bed at all times, take part in naked modelling, BDSM and spanking in order to stay in his house.

“In May 2018 she agreed to come and stay with him and he messaged her saying 'you have to wear a bikini at all times. You will be sexually submissive to me, you will spend a lot of your time tied up, I will spank and torture you when you deserve it.'

“She was exactly the sort of woman he set out for. He knew she was homeless, knew she had been involved in sex work and told him he was suicidal."

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The victim told police: “I slept in his bed and I would cry when I was upset if I was by myself.

'Sexual intercourse did take place between us. I had to wear a bikini at all times.

“At one point he tied me up and refused to untie me. He did untie me eventually when he realised I was crying”.

Despite Cox’s appalling treatment, she said, “to some extent I was grateful to have a roof over my head”.

Passing sentence, Judge Robert Fraser told him: 'You were clearly targeting vulnerable women who by definition had significantly reduced choices.

“It is very clear your third victim was highly vulnerable but you made clear those conditions. There can be no doubt you were well aware of her desperate situation.

“She was suicidal and you were in no doubt she was in pain. Her comments speak volumes about the imbalance in that arrangement.

“You took advantage of her disadvantaged position in what was a wholly unbalanced relationship.

“The fact you did not think it was unlawful shows your willingness to exploit others.'

He added: “Your first two sets of offending were cynical: you dangled a carrot at those women who had little choice.

“It is remarkable and says something about your determination to pursue this that you posted further adverts in October.”

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