A LANDLORD offering a free room in his home to young women in return for sexual services has been jailed for 12 months after appearing at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday (May 10).
Christopher Cox, 53, of Guildford Road, Cranleigh, pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting prostitution for gain and one count of controlling prostitution for gain when he appeared at an earlier hearing in March 2022.
The matter was brought to the attention of police in March 2019 following an undercover investigation by researchers on ITV’s Kyle Files.
ITV told police that Cox had posted an advertisement on Craigslist offering a free room in his home for young and /or homeless girls. In return, he stated in the advert that he expected them to cook, clean and do laundry, and “possibly more”, and asked them to send him a photograph of themselves.
Undercover researchers pretending to be interested in the free room then contacted Cox, who explained that in exchange for the room he wanted them to be constantly in bikinis and provide sexual services. They arranged to meet him, at which point he repeated his request and suggested the arrangement had gone ahead with other girls in the past.
Following the first meeting with one of the undercover researchers in September 2018, Cox was confronted by programme host Jeremy Kyle asking why he was doing what he was doing and telling him that his behaviour was wrong.
Cox put up another post which was responded to by another undercover researcher in October 2018. However, he refused to meet her due to his concerns that it was a set up.
He was then contacted by another undercover researcher in November 2018 replying to a further advert, and they arranged to meet, resulting in Cox being confronted by Jeremy Kyle again.
ITV contacted Surrey Police in March 2019 before the episode exposing Cox was aired.
Cox was interviewed by police the following month and a search was carried out of his home address, during which his mobile phone, tablet, computer and two memory sticks were seized.
One of the women was identified as a possible victim from Cox’s phone, after messages from him saying that if she lived with him, she would need to sleep in his bed every night and provide sexual favours.
After speaking to police, the victim said that there had been a “sex for rent” arrangement in place and that he demanded that she wore a bikini whenever he was home.
Cox’s devices also showed messages with the ITV undercover researchers, as well as messages from Cox to other people, voicing his concerns that he had been involved in a set-up.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Megan Lightburn said: “Cox has brazenly advertised on a classified ads web site offering a room in return for sexual services.
“To take advantage of vulnerable women who are simply looking for an affordable way to put a roof over their heads is utterly despicable.
“Even after being caught out and challenged by undercover researchers working on an television programme pretending to be interested in his ad, he has still continued to advertise the room.
“The fact that he pleaded guilty to all three charges proves how compelling the evidence against him was, and I can only hope that the sentence he has received today will bring some form of closure for the victim who did end up moving with him and reassure her that he has been brought to justice for his heinous actions.”