November 1, 2007 / 12:56 PM / 12 years ago

Spider bite no excuse for rape, court says

A Sydney funnel-web spider rears up on its hind legs as a tube used to extract venom is placed nears its claws at the Australian Reptile Park at Gosford, 100 km (60 miles) north of Sydney, January 31, 2001. REUTERS/Mark Baker

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man who kidnapped and raped a woman blamed his actions on a spider, local media reported on Thursday.

Philip Spiers pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape, but told a court that the poison from a funnel-web spider bite had left him with a viral illness which led to his actions.

But a toxicologist told the New South Wales state District Court there was no medical evidence to suggest a spider bite could be responsible for anger and hatred.

Spiers, who kidnapped and raped the woman in 1997, was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years in jail.

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