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Kidnap case man faces 329 charges

A man accused of holding three women captive for a decade is facing 329 charges including kidnapping and rape.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned the indictment against Ariel Castro, a former school bus driver, on Friday night.

The grand jury charged Castro, of Cleveland, Ohio, with two counts of aggravated murder related to one act, saying he purposely caused the unlawful termination of a pregnancy.

Castro is accused of kidnapping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight and holding them captive along with a six-year-old girl he fathered with Ms Berry. He also was indicted on charges including 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping and multiple counts of gross sexual imposition and felonious assault.

Castro's lawyers have said he would plead not guilty to any indictment.

Lawyers for Ms Berry, Ms DeJesus and Ms Knight said they had "confidence and faith" in the prosecutor's office and its decisions.

Castro will be appear in court over the charges next week.

Castro, 52, was arrested on May 6, shortly after Ms Berry broke through a door at the home, shouted to neighbours for help and frantically told a police dispatcher by phone: "Help me. I'm Amanda Berry. I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years, and I'm, I'm here, I'm free now."

Ms Berry, 27, told officers that she was forced to give birth in a plastic pool in the house so it would be easier to clean up. She said she, her baby and the two other women rescued with her had never been to a doctor during their captivity. Ms Knight, 32, said her five pregnancies ended after Castro starved her for at least two weeks and "repeatedly punched her in the stomach until she miscarried", authorities said.

The women had vanished separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They have not spoken publicly since their rescue.


From Belfast Telegraph