Grime artist Solo 45 given 24 years in prison for multiple brutal rapes, imprisoning and waterboarding 4 women

Solo 45, who was born Andy Anokye, was arrested in 2017. His victims described incidents of violent assault, threats with weapons, having a cloth with bleach held over their faces and waterboarding

                            Grime artist Solo 45 given 24 years in prison for multiple brutal rapes, imprisoning and waterboarding 4 women
Solo 45 (Getty Images)

A British court on Thursday, July 30, jailed grime artist Andy Anokye, who is better known by his stage name Solo 45, for 24 years after he was found guilty of repeatedly raping and assaulting four women he had held against their will. The 33-year-old artist was convicted in March this year.

The musician, who was part of the collective Boy Better Know (founded in London by musicians known as Jme and Skepta), and who had collaborated with stars such as Wiley and Stormzy, admitted in court that he liked to “terrorize” women, but insisted they always consented to his “rape game”.

According to a report in The Guardian, Anokye was arrested in 2017 after a woman claimed she had been raped at his waterfront apartment in Bristol. Following his arrest, police examined videos and images on his digital devices and contacted further women. His victims described how he beat and threatened them with weapons, held a cloth with bleach over their faces, and waterboarded them, recording much of the abuse on his mobile phone.

In fact, the videos he made of his crimes were so extreme that the public gallery was reportedly cleared when they were shown and only two members of the media were allowed to view them.

“He put me on the bed and put a flannel over my face and poured a bottle of water over it, which made me feel like I was drowning," said one of Anokye’s victims to The Guardian. Another claimed that she was stabbed in the thigh and held at knifepoint. Anokye told the court that all the acts were consensual role play in a game called "catch me, rape me", and reportedly denied the charges relating to the four complainants. He told the jury he would not have risked his career by raping women.

According to Agence France-Presse, Anokye was convicted of 21 counts of rape, five counts of false imprisonment, two counts of assault by penetration, and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, by a court in Bristol. Judge William Hart, per AFP, told Anokye during sentencing that the rapper had "become addicted" to "perverted pleasure".

"You were part of a well-known collective, Boy Better Know. The fellow artists from that collective have achieved great success," the judge said. "They are in no way tarnished by your misdeeds which you carried out in a private way."

The judge further added, “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. Your convictions have deprived you of that career, but the fault is yours alone.”

Jill MacNamara, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said to The Guardian, “Today’s sentence reflects the severity of Anokye’s crimes and the risk he poses to women. I hope that it goes some way in providing all of these women with a sense that justice has been achieved. This was an incredibly complex case, involving the review of over 2m digital files. The commitment of the CPS to see this case through to its conclusion shows that we will not shy away from difficult cases.”

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