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British-Ghanaian rapper, Andy Anokye, who performs as Solo 45, has been handed 24-year jail term after he was found bulging of repeatedly raping four women.
Solo 45 was found guilty at Bristol Crown Court of 30 charges relating to a two-year period including 21 rapes, five counts of false imprisonment, two counts of assault by penetration and two of actual bodily harm.
The crimes took place between February 2015 and March 2017.
The 33-year-old claimed it was consensual role play, or a game he played called “catch me, rape me”.
Distressing footage was found on Anokye’s phone when police arrested him in 2017 following a rape complaint.
Video played during the Bristol trial showed him interrogating women about previous sexual partners, slapping them, insulting them and raping them. The videos were so intimate and extreme that Judge William Hart cleared the public gallery of the courtroom when they were shown.
He met these victims at his gigs and developed relationships with them before assaulting them, his trial heard.
One of his Anokye’s victims who testified in court told the Guardian newspaper:
“He put me on the bed and put a flannel over my face and poured a bottle of water over it, which made feel like I was drowning,” she said.
Another said she was stabbed in the thigh and held at knifepoint.
The trial heard he forced one woman to lie in a bath of freezing cold water, held a shotgun to the head of another woman. and made one sit with a bottle of water tied to her finger with a shoelace.
According to prosecutors. his abuse included holding a cloth covered in bleach to women’s faces, with one woman telling jurors he had forced a mobile phone down her throat.
Giving evidence, Anokye told the court he had dacryphilia – sexual arousal from tears.
During sentencing, Judge William Hart imposed an extended sentence, meaning Anokye will serve 24 years in prison and five on licence, and ordered he must sign the sex offenders register for life.
The judge told Anokye, who appeared by video link from HMP Long Lartin, he had ‘no sexual boundaries or empathy for those concerned’.
He said Anokye had ‘become addicted’ to the ‘perverted pleasure’ he took from abusing the women in the case.
The judge added:
‘You have a background that includes gang associations and criminal violence.
‘I’m entirely satisfied that your career as a music artist was flourishing at the time of this offending and that you would have gone to great heights.
‘You were part of a well-known collective – Boy Better Know. The fellow artists from that collective have achieved great success.’
The judge said none of those fellow artists were aware of Anokye’s behaviour, or ‘dark side’.
‘They are in no way tarnished by your misdeeds which you carried out in a private way,’ the judge told Anokye.
‘Your convictions have deprived you of that career but the fault is yours alone.’
Anokye, who was signed to Island Records and had collaborated with Stormzy, JME and Wiley, was described as a ‘violent, controlling narcissist and a bully’ by prosecutors during the case.