A British woman who escaped the clutches of a notorious killer after he kidnapped and raped her, then held her hostage in a bin for eight days, has been hailed for her incredible bravery.
Estate agent Stephanie Slater was 25 when she was kidnapped by Michael Sams after posing as a home buyer in January 1992.
For eight days, he held her prisoner in a makeshift coffin, locked inside a green bin on the floor of his workshop in Newark-upon-Trent, northern England.
Sams, who was later found to have murdered 18-year-old Julie Dart after using similar means to imprison her, only let Stephanie out for an hour a day to eat and go to the bathroom.
He was blindfolded the whole time.
After raping her and evading a police cordon to collect a ransom of £175,000 (at the time around A$420,000) from her employers, Sams unexpectedly let Stephanie go.
Her shock release was a testament to Stephanie’s tenacity to survive, it has been revealed in a new BBC podcast. The kidnapping of Stephanie Slater.
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The young real estate agent did everything he could to get out alive, “befriending” Sams to show him she was “human” and reciting old TV episodes in his head while trapped inside the wheelie bin as a way to stay. calm.
“Don’t get me wrong, I was scared every time I talked to him,” Stephanie, who died at age 50 in 2017 after a short battle with cancer, said in an interview after the audio was released. of which it has been used in the podcast.
“I thought, ‘I hope I don’t say the wrong thing and make him angry.'”
Sams had meticulously planned the kidnapping in the months before kidnapping Stephanie as a way to make enough money to escape his failed business and third marriage. The sun previously informed.
While inside the makeshift coffin that was tucked into a container on the floor, Sams tied Stephanie’s hands above her head and tied them to a metal bar under heavy bricks and stones.
“He said, ‘If you put your arms down to try to escape, the rocks will crush your skull,'” Stephanie explained.
After holding her at knifepoint and driving her 110km blindfolded to his workshop, Sams called his office to demand cash.
“Stephanie has been kidnapped. There will be a ransom demand tomorrow. If you contact the police, she will die,” he told his boss.
He then forced her to undress and raped her.
“I’m lying there like a dead thing,” Stephanie said.
“He said, ‘I can’t believe you’re so calm.’
“I was mentally detaching myself from what was happening to me.”
However, Stephanie’s employer contacted the police who engaged in an elaborate scheme with the press to keep the kidnapping a secret until she was released.
After a failed attempt to hook Sams with ransom money, which saw him make off with all the cash, he did the unexpected and took Stephanie home, leaving her two streets from from the main door.
“He took the car; said, “I’m sorry for everything, you were the innocent victim,” she later saidBBC reports
“Then he said, ‘Don’t look back in the car.’ I fell to the curb and the door closed behind me and he sped off. When I opened my eyes, I was partially blind.
“The pressure of the bandage for eight days and nights had damaged my eyes. All I could see were the swirling orange streetlights. And I could hardly walk.”
Even though Stephanie was home, the police still needed to catch Sams and they had vital evidence.
During a phone call to Stephanie’s boss, he forgot to disguise his real voice, a recording of which was played on the British TV show. Crime surveillancewho was quickly identified by his ex-wife.
Interestingly, his advice was initially ignored as it revealed that Sams only had one leg after losing it to cancer, but once they looked at it properly, the police knew they had their man.
Once arrested, the police were also able to link him to the murder of Julie Dart, who Sams had kidnapped six months before Stephanie.
Sams received four life sentences in 1993 for murdering 18-year-old Julie and kidnapping Stephanie.
A conversation he had with the police was then secretly recorded. This was first revealed to the public in July 2022 in the documentary Discovery +, Michael Sams: Kidnapper Killer.
“When I went out to kidnap Julie Dart, there was only one intention, and that was to kill her,” Sams stated, according to a report by The sun.
“There was no intention to keep her alive.”
Her remains were discovered on a farm, wrapped in a sheet, 10 days after her disappearance. Who killed her had remained a mystery until Stephanie was kidnapped.
“To this day I believe I’m alive because I didn’t fight him,” Stephanie said The sun in 2011.
Married three times, Sams is now 81 and still behind bars. Eight years were added to his sentence for attacking a female parolee with a metal spike while in prison in 2005.
Most recently, his request for parole was denied, with officials saying he was “too dangerous to release.”
You can listen to the whole BBC podcast, The kidnapping of Stephanie Slaterhere.
Originally published as Stephanie Slater Kidnapped and Raped by Killer, Kept in Trash for Eight Days