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Gruesome details have been revealed about a home-built dungeon where a man held women captive and forced them to kill each other.

Chinese man Li Hao, 35, was sentenced to death last week for keeping the women in the cellar and for his part in murdering two of them. He was found guilty of murder, rape and organised prostitution in an horrific case.

A court was told the women were forced to work as prostitutes and perform obscene acts on the internet for his profit - while two of the women were forced to kill two others who were also kept as sex slaves.

One of the women managed to escape and raised the alarm and it was then that police discovered the bodies of two of the six women.

The death penalty was imposed by the Luoyan Luoyang Intermediate People's Court in Henan Province, Xinhua news agency has said.

Police mugshots of three of the victims who were forced to take part in murder by Li Hao. Photo: CCTV

The news agency also reports three of the women locked up by Li were also found guilty of murder after killing under Li's instruction and coercion. One received three years and the other two were awarded leniency and suspended sentences, says Xinhua.

The court was also told Li dug the dungeon under a basement he had bought in Luoyang in 2009.

He tricked the women, who had mostly worked in nightclubs and karaoke bars, into going there.

Six women had been imprisoned for between two and 21 months.

Police said Li's aim was to make money by forcing the women into prostitution and to appear in web sex shows.

China Central Television reported that Li lured the women by promising to pay them for sex.

Changsha lawyer Zhang Yan, who followed the case, could not agree with the sentence for the three victims and told the South China Morning Post: "I was shocked when hearing of their verdicts because they were victims in this sex-slave scandal.

"When the scandal was disclosed, I immediately headed to Luoyang to lobby the city legal office, public security bureau, women's federation, legal aid office and other departments, but none of them allowed me to take the case."