September 2012

Kidnapped woman was gagged, shackled and raped in a van, offender was on bail 

A kidnapped woman was gagged, shackled and raped in a van converted into a “mobile dungeon” by a man who was on bail for indecent images of children

The 24-year-old feared she was going to be killed during a six-hour ordeal of at the hands of sadistic Kevin John Hills.

Jailing Hills indefinitely, with a minimum term of nine years, Judge Sylvia De Bertodano said: “It’s the stuff of people’s worst nightmares.”

Leicester Crown Court was told that, after being abducted at knifepoint, with her hands tied and mouth covered with tape, the woman tried to throw herself from the moving Vauxhall van.

Hills had earlier told her, pressing a blade to her throat: “Sit still. It makes no odds to me if you’re dead or alive.”

She thought leaping from the van was “the lesser evil” of what she was about to face, said Andrew Easteal, prosecuting.

But Hills pulled her back into the vehicle, hit her around the head and shoved her into the footwell, before driving her to an isolated spot near Cropston reservoir.

“He’d converted his high-top van into a mobile dungeon, designed so the victim could be restrained and rendered helpless and abused in any way he saw fit,” said Mr Easteal. “He’d carefully planned what he was going to do.”

Hills (40), of Barnsdale Road, Beaumont Leys, Leicester, admitted kidnap and various sexual offences on January 12.

He was on bail for downloading child abuse images at the time.

On the night of the incident, joiner Hills had told his then-partner that he was going to a casino with friends but instead circled a red light area in Highfields, Leicester, where he targeted the victim, a vulnerable and slightly-built prostitute.

After she got into his van they went to a nearby car park where he pulled out a knife, tied her up and threw her mobile phone out of the window.

Having driven into the countryside, he dragged the woman into the back and “shackled” her feet with ropes, and used two bungee-type ropes from the ceiling to “string her up”.

Mr Easteal said: “Still with tape across her mouth, she was rendered completely helpless.

“He chose to tell her about himself in detail, which convinced her he was intending to kill her.”

Hills cut off the woman’s clothes, subjected her to a terrifying ordeal and hit her around the head.

Hills eventually dropped the woman off in a city centre car park at 2.30am. Following his arrest, he claimed she consented to sexual activity in the van.

After seeing Hills jailed, the victim said: “The sentence is sufficient but I wish he could stay in jail forever. I hate him. I really thought I was going to die.

“I only felt strong enough to report the incident to police a week after it happened, although it was six months before I was able to tell police exactly what this man had done to me.

“It has now been eight months since the attack and I still think about it every day. It has ruined my life. I can’t be on my own, I feel vulnerable and scared all the time, but I am determined to try to beat the horrible shadow this man has cast over my life.”

Judge Sylvia De Bertodano said Hills would only be freed when he was no longer considered a danger.

She praised the victim’s courage in attending court.

Hills also admitted eight counts of downloading child abuse images of girls aged between six and 15.

The offences related to 143 images at level one – the least serious – eight at level two, 12 at level three and seven at level four, found on his computer, in February 2011.

Gary Short, mitigating, said: “The indecent images show the level of his preoccupation with sex.

“What happened to the victim was the escalation of seeking personal sexual gratification.”