Yesterday the Mail on Sunday ran an article on Salford based Shneur Odze, the UKIP candidate in this week's Greater Manchester Mayor election.
The story, picked up by the Salford Star, alleged that Shneur Odze indulged in sadomasochistic sex practices with a woman from York who he met on a 'kinky community' dating site. Mr Odze is a married ultra-orthodox Jewish man, who, in the past, the Mail alleged, has refused to shake the hands of rival female candidates on religious grounds.
The woman, known as 'Cassie', exposed the story to the press insisting "Odze was presenting an image of himself as a happily married pillar of the community.
"He had lied to me, by telling me he wasn't married and he's lying to the people he wants to represent by pretending to be something he's not" she added "It is hypocritical..." (for a full background see previous Salford Star article – click here or the Mail on Sunday article – click here).
The Salford Star has tried to contact Mr Odze to ascertain whether he now intends to withdraw from the Greater Manchester Mayor election, and to offer him a chance to put his side of the story, with no response. Last night, the Star also contacted Noel Matthews, UKIP's national officer, asking for a reply to two questions...
Will Mr Odze be withdrawing from this week's Mayor election; and if not will he continue to have the backing of UKIP?
Does UKIP or Mr Odze deny the allegations against him – and if so could we have statement from either UKIP or Mr Odze?
Matthews responded "This is a personal matter for Mr Odze. No law has been broken and we have no further comment to make..."
This morning, the Salford Star again contacted UKIP with the same questions, and the party responded backing its candidate...
"Mr Odze remains the UKIP candidate in the Mayoral elections" its press officer stated "This is a personal, not political matter."
While the Star agrees that no law has been broken, we do not believe that it is merely a "personal matter". Shneur Odze is standing on behalf of UKIP for the most high profile public office in Greater Manchester, representing almost three million people.
The only statement Mr Odze has made was to the Mail reporter..."I've no idea what you're talking about". The Star believes there is an incredibly strong public interest case for presenting more evidence which we believe to be accurate.
The Star has been passed a photo of what appears to be Cassie and Odze indulging in a sex practice (on decency grounds we cannot print this). We also have a photo of Mr Odze driving while using his mobile phone (although this is the least of his problems).
The Star also has a sound recording featuring Odze's distinctive voice discussing going round to Cassie's flat, plus screen grabs of alleged text messages between the pair showing Odze's mobile phone number...
One states "There was me thinking you could be a good whore...Call me! Now!!! Guess you don't wish to get fucked today, after all...". Another text indulges a fantasy where "before baby knew it she was naked on daddy's knee and blowing all the guys there, one at a time...Before a full blown orgy developed and baby was 'used' repeatedly..."
Another text refers to Cassie as a 'filthy pig', asking her to "organize a threesome for Wed night...". Other texts are just too pornographic to print.
In a PR email to the Salford Star recently, Odze accused Labour Party candidate Andy Burnham of being a "synthetic politician everyone is tired of...Mr Burnham appears to have no core principles..."
In a further email to the Star setting out his vision for Greater Manchester if elected UKIP GM Mayor, Odze promises to 'champion whistle blowers'...
"I pledge to be the most open and transparent administration in all we, and our partners, do...I will encourage this to be implemented across both the public and private sectors" he states "I also pledge to protect and champion whistle blowers."
The Salford Star has been passed a long statement from Cassie giving her version, in graphic detail, which she alleges is a true account of her time with Odze. On decency grounds, we cannot print all of it but included is a "rape fantasy roleplay without my consent"...
"He came into the room behind me, blindfolded me before I could see his face and put me in cable ties. He told me he was inviting friends of his round to fuck sex with me, filmed what he called a 'hostage video'...He made me repeat that I was a whore and would do whatever I was told...
"...I was crying and telling him I didn't like it, that I didn't understand. He laughed at me and bit my breast - leaving bruises that lasted for several days. He also hit me several times round the face...he said me crying hysterically was me experiencing subdrop. He then hit me with his belt for all the times I had forgotten to address him as Sir...
"He bought me a dummy which he made me put in my mouth when we had sex" Cassie added "Sometimes instead of Sir he'd want me to call him 'Daddy' and he'd call me 'baby'...
"I told him before we ever met that I had recently been raped and sexually assaulted within an abusive relationship. He knew I was on antidepressants and seeing a psychologist.
"If I ever complained about the way he treated me, he would complain that I didn't appreciate everything he did for me, how he cherished me. He would tell me there was no point in our relationship, accuse me of cheating on him, threaten to break up with me or sleep with someone else. He would tell me I was too emotional and I was putting all my problems on him and not taking responsibility for my behaviour..."
The Salford Star spoke to a senior Salford UKIP member this morning who said he was "shocked and horrified with the story which ran in the Mail and the Star", and that he and his family had now destroyed their voting papers.
He explained that, although "there was no crime committed, all credibility has been lost" and that he could no longer support Mr Odze in any way. He added that if he had the power he would ask Mr Odze to stand down.
Update: 2nd May: Salford UKIP Chairman resigns - click here
Main photo, by Steven Speed, shows Shneur Odze texting during the Greater Manchester Mayor election housing hustings, flanked by the Labour Party candidate Andy Burnham and Green Party candidate Will Patterson