UK & World News

  • 8 January 2014, 9:39

Sheffield: Family Jailed Over 'Slave' Beatings

Three members of a family have been jailed for keeping a vulnerable man as a "slave" and subjecting him to daily beatings.

Ice cream man David Rooke, 44, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail after admitting falsely imprisoning and assaulting 34-year-old Craig Kinsella.

The family had used him like a "punchbag", said the judge at Sheffield Crown Court.

Disturbing CCTV of the family beating Mr Kinsella was shown in court.

The abuse took place over a six-week period between May and July 2013 and the court heard how Mr Kinsella was kept in "grotesque" conditions in a garage, had to use a bucket for a toilet, and scavenged for food in bins.

Rooke'swife Donna, 40, was jailed for four months for battery, while their son Jamie, 19, received four-and-a-half years for five counts of actual bodily harm and affray.

"He was just your punchbag, all three of you. If you were in a bad mood you would just go and kick and punch Craig Kinsella," said Judge Kelson.

"It is staggering that this is happening in our society, absolutely staggering. It is almost unbelievable."

Police found Mr Kinsella in a shocking physical state after responding to reports of a man being abused outside the Rooke house on July 6 last year.

He had a broken right arm, a fractured rib, extreme bruising to his back and around his kidney, a fractured chin and cuts, as well as lumps and bruises on his head and legs.

Prosecutors said Mr Kinsella was beaten with weapons that included a pick-axe handle and crowbar.

They said he was so scared of the beatings he would work from 7.30am to midnight for no money, cleaning the family's garden and vans.

Mr Kinsella had learning difficulties, and had first worked for the family a number of years ago, receiving 40 a week so he could keep claiming benefits.

David Rooke was also ordered to pay Mr Kinsella 15,000 that police found in his home.

Detective Inspector Vicky Short, who led the investigation, said: "It is hard to understand how any human being could treat an individual in such a grotesque, callous and inhuman manner.

"I am confident that if we had not received that phone call that day last July we would have been investigating a murder."

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