A lonely woman who went looking for "love and romance" on the internet was raped and assaulted by a man she met on a dating site, a court heard.

The woman moved in with Colin Leacock in 2015 shortly after they met on Match.com.

But his domineering sister forced her to live with her instead, to prove she was good enough for her brother.

Mandy Leacock treated the woman like a slave, ordering her to cook and clean as an "unpaid skivvy", punishing her by dousing her with bleach as she sat in a bath.


Jurors heard she was also repeatedly punched and kicked by the pair, and swung around by her hair until it came out in chunks.

In a police interview shown to jurors as her evidence, the woman said she suffered repeated abuse at the hands of the siblings over the following months, including having her head smashed against a wall, being hit over the head with a chair, forced to sleep on the floor, and threatened with being thrown from a 10-storey building.

Terrified to resist, she was occasionally made to stand outside on a balcony as punishment, the court heard.

Jurors were also told Mandy Leacock took control of the woman's bank card, buying clothes, a gym membership and a £300 ($520) watch.

She told police: "It was horrible. I felt humiliated all the time, but I didn't cry because I got used to it."

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police she moved in with Leacock because she "felt lonely and wanted to be loved again" after a previous abusive relationship.

Prosecuting, David Povall said: "She was living in a state of fear, oppression, being bullied and controlled."

She finally managed to get free when she sought medical help after speaking to someone in a shop.

Leacock, of Paddington, is on trial at Southwark Crown Court accused of two counts of rape and two of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Jurors were told Mandy Leacock was not on trial but had previously pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm, including pulling the woman's hair and using bleach on her.

- Originally published on Telegraph UK