Rape charge man tells of love for wife

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A WOMAN ran sobbing from a court after her husband - accused of abducting and repeatedly raping her - declared his love for her and waived his right to cross-examine her.

Paul Arvanitakis, who is defending himself, said he had been instructed by Jesus to show his wife "nothing less than the spirit of love" in court.

He had watched her on a video monitor as she gave evidence at the Old Bailey behind screens. She alleged that he had held her in a flat against her will for five days, raping her at least twice a day after she told him she was leaving him for a new life in the United States.

Mr Arvanitakis, 33, from south London, has denied seven charges of rape, and one of false imprisonment in August last year. He has also denied raping her in July 1996.

As he was told by the Recorder of London, Sir Lawrence Verney that he could start his cross examination of her after she finished her evidence, Mr Arvanitakis kissed her face shown on the video screen in the dock.

As he leapt to his feet, he was told by the judge to stand where he was. Mr Arvanitakis then began a five-minute monologue with the quotation: "Love is as strong as death, but jealousy as cruel as the grave. Many floods cannot quench love, nor waters drown."

As his wife sat sobbing behind the screens, Mr Arvanitakis told the jury: "She is wonderful, beautiful. I love her with all my heart. As far as cross-examination of my wife, who I love and adore with all my heart, I have been instructed by the Lord Jesus that I must show my wife in this court, nothing less than the spirit of love although she fights me with hatred."

His wife interjected: "I do not fight you with hatred - I am scared of you. How can I live with you? How can I trust you?"

Mr Arvanitakis said: "Therefore your honour, I have no questions at all to ask her." His wife then ran sobbing from court.

Earlier, she had broken down in tears as she told the jury how she was abducted and handcuffed in a small flat, after arranging to meet her husband so that he could give her documents she would need to return to America. She said he repeatedly raped her after she decided to leave him.

The prosecution alleges Mr Arvanitakis was a violent and obsessive husband who imprisoned her until police rescued her at the end of a five-day ordeal.

The case continues.