Updated: Wed, 04 Sep 2013 09:33:37 GMT | By F. Brinley Bruton, Staff Writer, NBC News

Ariel Castro's death is 'last slap' to victims' faces, psychologist says



Kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro's apparent prison suicide may deprive his victims of a vital sense that justice has been done, a leading psychologist said Wednesday. 

"Going forward now these girls are going to have to find a way of healing without a sense of justice," said Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a U.K.-based psychologist and author. "We want the sense of justice when we heal. Sometimes we have to heal without it, and sadly that is what they will have to do."

She added: "He decided his fate, something they were never ever ever able to do for themselves. He had ultimate control. To some extent this was in a way his last slap to their faces --  'I’ve got this over you'."

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. They escaped escaped May 6 after Berry broke through a storm door while Castro was out of his Cleveland house.

Addressing Castro in court, Knight said: "Days never got shorter. Days turned into nights, nights turned into days ...  Years turned into an eternity. I spent 11 years in hell, now your hell is just beginning."

Castro's death could well rob Knight, DeJesus and Berry of the feeling that the former bus driver was paying for his crimes, Papadopoulous added.  

"They very literally had a sentence dealt out to them ... They were literally, metaphorically, in every way imprisoned and held captive," Papadopoulos said. "The idea that he did this on his terms again is going to make them, at least to some extent, to feel cheated."

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