London - A British court on Tuesday cleared a man of assault after he engaged in a sadomasochistic sex session inspired by the best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey.

The jury at Ipswich Crown Court in east England heard that Steven Lock, 43, and a woman in her 40s conducted a relationship based around “master-slave” role-playing after meeting on the Internet.

Prosecutors said that Lock had crossed the line into criminality after chaining the woman “like a dog” to his floor and whipping her with a rope.

But the jury ruled that the woman had never said “red”, a code-word for either partner to stop if the other felt uncomfortable.

The woman, who had the words “Property of Steven Lock” tattooed around her genitals, also signed a contract promising Lock free use of her body and entitling him to lash her.

Lock, a jeweller, said the jury “had seen sense”.

“It's the right verdict,” he added. “This case should never have reached court. As far as I'm concerned it was a consensual activity between adults.”

The woman, who suffered bruising to the buttocks and neck, told the court: “I knew there would be pain involved and I knew I wasn't going to like it, but I'd agreed to it and had to follow it through.”

Lock said during the trial that the couple had “got the idea” from reading E.L. James’s raunchy novel Fifty Shades Of Grey”.

“It was supposed to be kinky fun, I didn't want her to cry,” he explained. - Sapa-AFP