A Brit who escaped the clutches of a notorious killer after he kidnapped and raped her, then held her hostage in a dustbin for eight days, has been hailed for her incredible bravery.
Real estate agent Stephanie Slater was 25 when she was kidnapped by Michael Sams in January 1992 after he posed as a homebuyer.
For eight days he held her captive in a makeshift coffin in a green dustbin 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 imprisoning her by similar means, only let Stephanie out for an hour a day to eat and go to the bathroom.
She was blindfolded the whole time.
After Sam rapes her and ducks a police line to collect a £175,000 (about $420,000 at the time) ransom from her employers, Sam unexpectedly lets Stephanie go.
Her shock release was a testament to Stephanie’s stubborn will to survive, a new BBC podcast has revealed. The kidnapping of Stephanie Slater.
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The young real estate agent went to great lengths to get out alive, “befriending” Sams to show him she was “human” and reciting old TV episodes in her head while trapped in the dustbin, to keep calm.
“Don’t get me wrong, I was scared every time I spoke to him,” Stephanie – who died in 2017 at the age of 50 after a brief battle with cancer – said in a post-post interview, the tone of which was used in the podcast .
“I was like, ‘I hope I’m not saying the wrong thing and making him angry.'”
Sams had meticulously planned the kidnapping in the months before he kidnapped Stephanie in order to earn enough money to escape his failed business and third marriage. The sun previously reported.
In the makeshift coffin stuffed into a trash can lying flat on the ground, Sam tied Stephanie’s hands above her head and tied them to a metal pole under heavy bricks and stones.
“He said, ‘If you pull your arms down to escape, the boulders will crush your skull,'” Stephanie explained.
After holding her at the knife point and then driving her blindfolded 70 miles to his shop, Sams called her office to request cash.
“Stephanie was kidnapped. A ransom note will be in the mail tomorrow. If you contact the police, she will die,” he told her boss.
He then forced her to strip naked and raped her.
“I just lay there like a dead thing,” Stephanie said.
“He said, ‘I can’t believe you’re so calm.’
“I’ve mentally detached myself from what happened to me.”
However, Stephanie’s employer contacted the police, who embarked on an elaborate plan to pressure them to keep the kidnapping a secret until she was freed.
After a botched attempt to catch Sams for ransom, which saw him get away with all the money, he did the unexpected and drove Stephanie home – dropping her two blocks from her front door.
“He pulled up the car; He said, ‘I’m all sorry, you were the innocent victim,'” she later saidBBC reports.
“Then he said, ‘Don’t look back at the car.’ I fell onto the sidewalk and the door closed behind me and he drove away at high speed.When I opened my eyes I was partially blind.
“The pressure of the blindfold for eight days and nights had damaged my eyes. All I could see were the swirling orange streetlights. And I could barely walk.”
Even though Stephanie was home, the police still had to apprehend Sams, and she had an important piece of evidence.
During a telephone conversation with Stephanie’s boss, he forgot to hide his real voice, a recording of which was played on a British television programme crime watchwho was quickly identified by his ex-wife.
Curiously, her tip was initially ignored because she revealed Sams only had one leg after losing it to cancer, but once they properly examined it, police knew they had their man.
Once in custody, police were also able to link him to the murder of Julie Dart, who Sams kidnapped Stephanie six months before.
Sams was sentenced to four life terms in 1993 for the murder of 18-year-old Julie and kidnapping Stephanie.
A conversation with the police was then secretly recorded. This was first revealed to the public in July 2022 in the Discovery+ documentary. Michael Sams: Kidnapper Killer.
“When I went out to kidnap Julie Dart there was only one intention and that was to kill her,” Sams said, according to a report by The sun.
“There was no intention of keeping her alive.”
Ten days after her disappearance, her remains were discovered on a farm, bundled up in a sheet. 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. His sentence was extended by eight years for assaulting a probation officer with a metal nail in prison in 2005.
Most recently, his parole request was denied, with officials saying he was “too dangerous to release.”
You can listen to the entire BBC podcast, The kidnapping of Stephanie SlaterHere.
Originally posted as Stephanie Slater kidnapped and raped by killer, kept in trash can for eight days