UK rapist Michael Dunn who attacked four victims hid a girl of 14 in a hole behind his fridge - and detectives repeatedly failed to find it

Convicted paedophile Michael Dunn. Photo / Supplied
Convicted paedophile Michael Dunn. Photo / Supplied

A "British Josef Fritzl" who built a secret den behind his fridge to hide a 14-year-old girl he was sexually abusing could have been stopped by police 24 years ago, it emerged yesterday.

Violent paedophile Michael Dunn, 57, was found guilty of raping and molesting four women over five decades, imprisoning two of them as sex slaves, the Daily Mail reported.

He knocked down a wall to create what he called the "hidey hole", into which the 14-year-old was hurriedly bundled on nine occasions when police came to look for her.

A court heard officers missed a further opportunity to save his victims - none of whom can be identified - after another 14-year-old accused Dunn of assaulting her in 1993, only for them to take no action.

Last night police and social services were facing questions about their failure to prevent Dunn from carrying out a further two decades of sexual abuse.

There are also fears he may have had other victims, as he lived in multiple locations in both the North and South of England.

One relative recalled that he dug a hole beneath the living room floor of one property, telling them it was a "bomb shelter".

A source who worked on the case described it as 'reminiscent in many ways of Josef Fritzl' - the Austrian monster who kept his daughter as a sex slave in a secret basement for 24 years.

Dunn, a hard-drinking bully who apparently lived on benefits in recent years, used a sledgehammer to smash out the bricks to create a cavity large enough for the girl at his home in Mottram, Greater Manchester.

He then covered it over with plasterboard and kept a bucket of dust nearby to camouflage the false wall. As an extra precaution, he trained his alsatians to stand guard over the spot where she cowered.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 14-year-old who was hidden in the "hidey hole" was a runaway from local authority care in 1993, who sought refuge in Dunn's home. Police visited the house on "eight or nine' occasions without finding her, the jury heard.

Another of his victims, also 14 at the time, reported the same year that she had been raped at the Mottram house, but the court was told Greater Manchester Police did not take the case further.

Dunn concealed the girl up to nine times from police. Photo / Supplied
Dunn concealed the girl up to nine times from police. Photo / Supplied

His crimes finally came to light in 2014, when the girl he imprisoned in the hole went to police as an adult.

Yesterday, she said: "They are memories I don't want, and I'm having nightmares for God knows how long and I don't want any more. I just don't want to talk about it."

Dunn, who later moved to Redcar, North Yorkshire, now faces a potential life sentence after being found guilty of 16 charges on Wednesday. The other woman he imprisoned said: "We've all suffered through this and it's been over a long time. I'm glad it's over but that's all I want to say."

Dunn was described by prosecutor Richard Bennett as "a violent, controlling and sexually abusive man" who "had sex when he wanted". The girl hidden behind the fridge had already been the victim of abuse, having been raped and beaten by another man.

"The Crown say he took advantage of that situation for his own sexual gratification," Mr Bennett told jurors.

He described how Dunn appeared protective and caring at first, but started making sexual advances on the girl. She told him to stop but he persisted and assaulted her.

"She secretly moved into his address when she was still subject to care," he said. "Because she was such a frequent visitor to the Dunn house, and because he wanted to continue abusing her, Michael Dunn knocked through a wall in the house and created a 'hidey hole'.

"This was a cavity with a false wall which allowed her to hide from the police.

"It appears the police attended on a number of occasions to look for her as there were suspicions she was at the address.

"Michael Dunn would have a bag of dust and a panel to camouflage the 'hidey hole' with a false wall."

The other woman he imprisoned, who was in her 20s when the abuse started, was beaten to the point where she had black eyes. She submitted to sex in fear after Dunn threatened to hit her if she did not.

The court heard he padlocked doors from the outside to keep the two victims locked in rooms at his home, giving them walkie-talkies so they could communicate. The house was monitored by a "ramshackle" array of CCTV cameras, alarms and sensors to enable him to spy on their movements, Mr Bennett said.

He told the court that Dunn "took advantage for his own gratification", adding: "Both women were his possessions to do with what he wanted."

After his crimes came to light, it emerged that Dunn had groomed another vulnerable underage girl in 1993, giving her alcohol and cigarettes before sexually abusing her.

She swore at him and ran to tell her mother, the court heard. Mr Bennett said: "The police were called and she believes they went to talk to Dunn. She was told it was being taken no further."

It was also revealed that around 15 years earlier in the late 1970s he had raped a girl of ten or 11, telling her afterwards: "It's what boyfriends and girlfriends do."

She tried to put her experiences to the back of her mind, but challenged Dunn when she encountered him years later. The court heard he then threatened to "have you done for slander".

During his evidence, Dunn insisted that none of the claims made by his victims, now all adults, were true. He showed no remorse as the verdicts were announced, simply shaking his head as he was found guilty.

Dunn was convicted of ten rapes, three charges of false imprisonment and three of sexual assault. He was cleared of one charge of rape and making threats to kill.

Last night an unnamed relative described him as "strange" and said he once dug a hole beneath the living room floor of a house he owned near Redcar.

"He said at the time it was a bomb shelter which seemed bizarre," they said.

"But in the light of this you have to wonder whether it had some other purpose."

Former neighbours claimed Dunn was "best friends" with another paedophile, saying he "seemed dangerous".

"Dunn just seemed creepy - you would cringe when he stood next to you," one said. "He always hung around with young people."

Another neighbour, who described Dunn as a "strange, strange individual", said he was an unemployed drunk who "wobbled" around.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "We are aware of today's conviction and issues raised during the case. We are currently looking into the matter."

Judge Tony Briggs remanded Dunn in custody ahead of his sentencing.

Inside the 'hidey hole'. Photo / Supplied
Inside the 'hidey hole'. Photo / Supplied

Vulnerable girls who fell into the clutches of a monster

THE TEENAGE RUNAWAY

Officers visited his home on eight or nine occasions in the early 1990s looking for the girl after she repeatedly escaped from her care home.

But the teenager remained hidden at the home in Greater Manchester.

She was trapped in a void behind his fridge which he created by knocking through a wall. It was concealed with a "panel and a bag of dust".

The girl - who had already been raped as a younger child - was first abused by Dunn when she was 14.

His campaign of terror against her lasted until 2014, when she contacted police. She is now 38.

Dunn had sex with her and another woman on alternate nights.

She met Dunn through her friendship with another of his victims.

He raped her for the first time when she was 14, and she was raped "many more times" before her 16th birthday - but the victim said after that age the sex was consensual because she had "fallen in love".

In 1999, when the victim was in her early 20s, she was severely beaten by Dunn and locked in the house to prevent anyone seeing her injuries.

Dunn started to become violent when drunk. Now living in Redcar, he put CCTV inside his house and locks on internal doors as he was paranoid about her being "unfaithful".

Once, she locked herself behind the bathroom door but he broke it down and left her in a "bloodied mess". When she went off sex with him, the rapes resumed until she went to the police.

A VICTIM FOR THREE DECADES

One of his victims endured almost 30 years of violence and sexual abuse, and lost her unborn child in 2000 after he was violent.

The woman, now 54, had known him since 1981 and suffered regular beatings as part of a "relationship of fear". She was told she "hadn't earned" the right to answer him back.

She was aware of his relationship with the younger victim, and what she called the "cubby hole". The pair, who had to take it in turns to sleep with him, would compare bruises.

Sometimes she would be padlocked in her bedroom from the outside.

She didn't believe she had been raped, but said she "would have got a slap if she han't had sex with him".

GIRL WHOSE MUM TOLD POLICE

Officers had a chance to catch Dunn in 1993 when they were told of his abuse by the mother of another teenage runaway.

She would visit his home "four or five times a week". Officers had suspicions she was there but he would lie to officers and say she wasn't.

The visits happened in the early 1990s, when the victim, who also ended up being sexually abused, was plied with alcohol and cigarettes.

The girl, now 37, knew the other teenager and the older woman who were also being abused, and she remembers seeing the woman bruised and with a black eye.

She was sexually assaulted in 1993 when she fell asleep in Dunn's house after running away from home.

She woke to find she was being interfered with and believed she was about to be raped.

The other women were in the same room at the time.

After the girl ran screaming from the house, her mother contacted police but no action was taken.

THE YOUNGEST VICTIM

Dunn told his first victim "it's what boyfriends and girlfriends do" as he raped her when she was ten or 11.

He was about 19 at the time in the late 1970s, and had built up the young girl's trust by taking her for walks.

The woman, now 48, said she cannot remember if he sexually attacked her on any further occasions, as she had "tried to bury events".

But a decade later she had the courage to challenge Dunn in the presence of her mother at the age of 21.

She told him what she thought of him. Pointing to her mother, she said: "Have you told her that you'd sexually assaulted me when I was 11?" Dunn's response was to threaten to have her "done" for slander.

- Daily Mail

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