Woman believed Met officer would ‘rape her during attack at her home’
A young woman “100% thought” she was going to be raped by a bondage-obsessed Metropolitan Police officer who used duct tape to restrain her during “10 minutes of terror”, a court has heard.
Sam Grigg, 36, who was sacked from the Met after being charged, previously pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court to false imprisonment and assault against Natasha Rabinowitz, who was then 23.
Grigg, who was not on duty at the time, approached her in the kitchen of the “large townhouse” they shared in Twickenham, south-east London, while their other flatmates were out, on December 2 last year.
He was “keen on bondage”, collected police equipment without permission – including handcuffs and batons – and “got a kick out of arresting women as it was a form of restraint”, the court previously heard from his ex-girlfriend.
During a search of his house, officers found police-issue handcuffs, along with horror film Better Watch Out depicting a woman bound in rope with duct tape over her mouth.
Ahead of Grigg’s sentencing at the same court on Friday, a victim impact statement was read on behalf of Ms Rabinowitz, who has self-harmed since the attack.
The former officer appeared in the dock wearing a navy blue suit and tie as Judge Peter Lodder KC described the attack as “10 minutes of terror” for the victim, who had “no real relationship” with Grigg other than being his housemate.
“Ten minutes with duct tape over your mouth without knowing what’s going to happen to you must feel like an eternity,” Judge Lodder said.
Prosecutor Alexander Agbamu described the attack.
He said Grigg grabbed the woman’s wrists and pulled Ms Rabinowitz towards him while she tried to pull away. When she asked him why, he said he “thought it was funny”.
The former Pc bent the victim over the sofa before tying her ankles together and taping over her mouth, the court heard.
At one point, a postman rang the doorbell, and Grigg left briefly to answer, before “smiling” down at her as she attempted to free herself by edging towards a drawer which she believed might have a knife inside.
Mr Agbamu said: “By now she was sweating and breathing heavily. She managed to crawl towards a set of ground-level drawers.
“Grigg spent the next few minutes watching her as she did her best using her feet prising open the drawer. He seemed to enjoy what he was seeing.”
Ms Rabinowitz asked him to remove the bindings, to which Grigg replied: “If you ask nicely, I’ll take them off”.
He eventually got a knife from the kitchen and used it to cut the tape, nicking her ankle and wrist in the process.
She asked him to avoid slicing her again after the first cut, to which Grigg said: “What will you do if I do… Who are you going to tell? I am the police”.
Mr Agbamu told the court that after the ordeal, Grigg asked Ms Rabinowitz “whether she forgave him, in a jokey tone”, to which she said she did not.
One of the first things Ms Rabinowitz did following the assault was to message a friend, telling them: “I genuinely, like 100%, thought he was going to rape me.
“My mind was torn because he had always been such a nice guy. He’s a bit weird but very sweet, so when it was happening I was like: ‘surely not’.”
The following day, she “neither ate nor left her room, bursting into tears whenever she heard his (Grigg’s) door open or close”, Mr Agbamu said.
Grigg was arrested mid-shift at Mitcham Police Station, and during a search of his bedroom, officers found a bag of cable ties, several pairs of handcuffs – including two which were police-issue – bundles of rope, a gag and ball, and four silk cloths.
They also found a DVD titled Better Watch Out with an image of a woman bound with rope and with duct tape over her mouth on the cover, and two friction-locked batons in a Tesco bag beneath his bed.
Speaking about the batons, Mr Agbamu said: “Such a weapon needs to be returned to an armoury or other secure place at the end of each shift, unless the officer is attending a weapons training course and with prior authority.
“Those circumstances did not apply in the defendant’s case, and additionally an officer of the defendant’s rank could not possess more than one such weapon at any time for any reason.”
Referring to the handcuffs, he added: “The police have gone through their records and there is no record of Mr Grigg ever attaining these.
“It was general that police officers would leave the handcuffs at the station unless there was a good reason for not doing so.”
Mr Agbamu read a victim impact statement to the court on Ms Rabinowitz’s behalf.
“She hasn’t slept properly since this incident,” he said.
“She has experienced nightmares at night and flashbacks by day.
“She didn’t eat for a long time, she’s become jumpier in everyday situations.
“She’s considered harming herself and has experienced increased anxiety and a generalised deterioration in her mental health.”
He added: “She has punched herself. She’s also considered using a knife on herself as well.
“She has also been questioning whether in any way she was to blame for the incident – whether she somehow gave the defendant the wrong impression.
“She’s uncomfortable now in environments where there are lots of people, and where there are lots of men in particular.
“She’s uncomfortable when unfamiliar people enter the house.
“She feels anxious when she sees a police vehicle, walks past a police station or when a police officer passes close by.
“It’s caused her to mistrust the police and made her concerned about the recruitment processes of the police, though she makes clear that the police, once they received her message, dealt with her complaint very swiftly and very positively.”
Mr Agbamu said “aggravating factors” included “the pleasure the defendant seemed to derive from the incident”, his position as a police officer and the “clear sexual overtone” of the attack.
Grigg’s ex-girlfriend previously told the court that “bondage was something he was keen to pursue” and that his police handcuffs “would come in useful” for such activities, Judge Lodder said.
Referring to his ex-girlfriend’s previous comments, the judge said: “In her opinion he got a kick out of arresting women as it was a form of restraint”.
He added of Grigg: “He has a clear interest in tying up and gagging women for his sexual pleasure.”
Defending, John Howey said Grigg had been able to keep the police-issued handcuffs due to “lax procedures in place at his station”.
Judge Lodder questioned whether the attack would have escalated if the doorbell had not rung, to which Mr Howey said: “He (Grigg) says it would not have progressed beyond the tying up phase to rape or any other form of sexual assault.
“The fact that the doorbell rang and the postman then left, he still had the opportunity to continue had he wanted to do so, but he didn’t.”
He added: “This was not a case where he used his position as a police officer to commit the offence.
“He accepts that he made a comment regarding him being a police officer.
“It was a single comment that he did not intend as a specific threat.”
The incident was reported on December 6 last year and Grigg was charged two days later, appearing in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 8.
This comes as two to three Met officers are expected to face criminal charges in court each week over the coming months, as the scandal-hit force attempts reform.
A police officer since 2016, Grigg, of Hazel Close, Twickenham, south-west London, had been attached to the Met’s South West Basic Command Unit until he was dismissed on January 30.
He will be sentenced on Friday afternoon.