US rapist took ‘coward’s way out,’ his captive says

US rapist took ‘coward’s way out,’ his captive says
Ariel Castro, 53, sits in the courtroom next to his attorney Jaye Schlachet (R) in Cleveland, Ohio July 26, 2013.

CHICAGO - Rapist Ariel Castro took "a coward's way out" when he killed himself in prison, one of the three women he abducted and held captive for a decade said Wednesday.

"I understand the reason why he did it," Michelle Knight said.

"He finally figured out the pain he put us through was the pain he didn't want to go through."

Knight was the first of the three women to be snatched off the street in 2002 when she was 20 years old.

"I was the most hated," she said in the first public interview given by any of the women since their dramatic escape on May 6.

In the second episode of a paid interview with the popular "Dr Phil" television programme, the diminutive woman described how she grew close with fellow captive Gina DeJesus after they were chained together in a locked room.

"There was times he would hit her and I would stop him and take the hit," she said. "I know how it feels to be hurt, and I didn't want her to go through that."

She described how DeJesus comforted her after Castro starved her and beat her until she miscarried.

"Every time got worse," she told celebrity therapist Phil McGraw.

"By the third time I got pregnant, it was kicking, jumping on my stomach like I was a bed," Knight said.

"He would literally have me lay straight and jump on my stomach."

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