Kidnapper/rapist Ariel Castro sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years
The United States man convicted of holding three women captive in a house he turned into a prison and raping them repeatedly for a decade has been sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years.
Ariel Castro, 53, apologised to his victims in a rambling, defiant statement before he was sentenced.
He blamed a sex addiction, his former wife and even the FBI for not thoroughly investigating the abductions while claiming most of the sex was consensual and that the women were never tortured.
"These people are trying to paint me as a monster," he said. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."
Just before the sentencing, one of three women he kidnapped stood within feet of Castro and told him his life was over.
"You took 11 years of my life away and I have got it back," said Michelle Knight.
"I spent 11 years in hell.
Now your hell is just beginning."
Knight, 32, was the first woman Castro abducted in 2002 after he lured her into his house with the promise of a puppy for her son.
Relatives of the other two victims spoke on their behalf.
Judge Michael Russo dismissed Castro's claims that the women lived a happy life with him.
"I'm not sure there's anyone in America that would agree with you," he said.
Castro pleaded guilty last week to 937 counts including aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and assault.
A deal struck with prosecutors Friday spared him from a possible death sentence for beating and starving a pregnant victim until she miscarried.
The judge told Castro that there was no place in the world for people who enslave others.
"These women never gave up hope," Russo said.
"In fact, they prevailed."
As Castro was led away, Knight watched, smiling.
Some horrific details of the women's ordeal had already emerged, including tales of being chained to poles in the basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. One woman was forced to wear a motorcycle helmet while chained in the basement and, after she tried to escape, had a vacuum cord wrapped around her neck.
Castro repeatedly starved and beat one of the victims each time she was pregnant, forcing her to miscarry five times.
He forced the same woman on threat of death to safely deliver the child he fathered with another victim on Christmas Day 2006. The same day, prosecutors say, Castro raped the woman who helped deliver his daughter.
The women quickly escaped after Amanda Berry kicked out the door panel on May 6 and Castro was arrested within hours. The women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old.
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