Kidnapper may question victim

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The Independent Online
The convicted kidnapper and murderer Michael Sams may have the right to cross-examine the former estate agent Stephanie Slater if he carries out his threat to sue over her claim that he raped her.

Ms Slater alleges in her book Beyond Fear: My Will To Survive, that Sams raped her during her eight days of captivity. In a scribbled note to his solicitor, Sams denied the allegation and said he would commence libel proceedings to establish his innocence in court.

Ms Slater replied to the libel threat by accusing Sams of being "sick" and of having an "image of himself as a master criminal controlling people even from his prison cell".

She said that she had kept her alleged ordeal secret for three years because she did not want to wish to hurt or humiliate her family. Her allegations were referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions. Last week it was decided that no further actionwould be taken.

Sams is serving four life sentences in Wakefield prison, West Yorkshire, for the abduction of Ms Slater and the murder of Julie Dart.

Ms Slater, then 26, was kidnapped in January 1992 while showing Sams around a house in Birmingham. Sams admitted unlawfully imprisoning Ms Slater and demanding £175,000 from her employer.

He denied murdering Julie Dart, kidnapping her and demanding money with menaces from Leeds Police and British Rail in July 1991.

If Sams sues, he would not have access to legal aid and would have to conduct his own case. He would have access to Ms Slater's evidence, nearly seven days of taped interviews, as well as the statements she made at the time of the trial.