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Top cop ‘hypnotised’ rape victim into recalling trauma to help catch kidnapper

3 min read

Estate agent Stephanie Slater was held captive by kidnapper Michael Sams for eight days.

Imprisoned in a wheelie bin laid horizontally like a crude “coffin,” Stephanie was handcuffed, tied up, blindfolded and gagged – allowed out only for short intervals.

Sams – who had already murdered his previous kidnap victim Julie Dart – raped Stephanie and only released her on payment of £175,000. £25,000 of the ransom was never found.

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Now, in a new documentary, former West Midlands police Detective Chief Superintendent Ellie Baker has revealed how she “hypnotised” the traumatised young woman and extracted information that helped lead to the killer’s capture.

After Sams was named as a suspect thanks to information from his ex-wife, Stephanie bravely identified the killer.

Former Detective Chief Superintendent Ellie Baker told The Sun how she used a new and then untried psychological technique to help Stephanie recall crucial details that helped lead to the monster’s conviction.

“You almost put the victim into a semi trance,” she said. “It’s just as if they’re being hypnotised but not in a total state.

“It’s incredible the information we got.”

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She said that her boss at the time, Detective Superintendent John Plimmer, had researched the new cognitive interview method which was being developed in the US.

The new technique helped Stephanie recall an uncanny level of detail about the place where she had been held.

With Ellie’s help, Stephanie remembered how Sams’ radio was always tuned to Radio 2, the amount of time between the sound of passing trains, and other incidental sounds of the killer’s lair such as the sound of a microwave pinging and the ringing of an old-fashioned phone.

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Sams admitted to the kidnapping, but denied the murder charge in court. Nevertheless he was convicted in July 1993 and confessed to the murder from behind bars within three days after the guilty verdict.

Even arrest didn’t put an end to his offending. He attacked a female probation officer using a metal spike.

He also became notorious for his attempts to sue the prison winning £4,000 damages when the prison service lost his artificial leg during a transfer, before unsuccessfully trying to get compensation because because his bed was too hard.

It’s unlikely he will ever be released.

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But another death has been blamed on the unrepentant rapist, kidnapper and killer.

Stephanie Slater, who felt unable to return to her own job and instead devoted her life to helping other victims of crime, died of cancer any the age of just 50.

Ellie believes that the horrific trauma Stephanie suffered may have shortened her life: “I’m not a doctor but having worked for many years with Home Office pathologists they often say if people suffer severe trauma — and Stephanie suffered very severe trauma, a lot of people would have died …it somehow affects the body’s system and can trigger the likes of cancer.

The Girl In The Box: The Kidnapping Of Stephanie Slater is on tonight and tomorrow at 9pm on Channel 5.


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