UK & World News
Traveller Family Jailed Over Forced Labour
Five members of a traveller family have been jailed for a total of 18 years after being found guilty of forcing vulnerable men to work for them.
The Connors family enjoyed top-of-the-range cars and expensive holidays. But to live the high life, they picked up men - often homeless drifters or addicts - to work for them as labourers.
The victims lived in squalid caravans on traveller sites as they moved around the country working on the Connors' paving and patio businesses.
Some were also ordered to perform humiliating tasks, such as emptying the buckets used as toilets by their bosses.
William Connors, 52, was jailed for six and a half years and his wife Mary, 48, received a sentence of two years and three months.
The couple's son, John, 29, was jailed for four years. Their other son James, 20, got three years detention in a young offender institution. Son-in-law Miles Connors, 24, received a three year prison sentence.
They were all convicted last week at Bristol Crown Court of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour between April 2010 and March 2011 following a three-month trial.
Mary and her daughters wept as the judge told them they had "exploited" the vulnerable who had chosen "one form of extreme deprivation over another".
Mary walked free after the sentencing due to time she has already served.
The men - called "dossers" by the Connors - had worked for the family for nearly two decades.
Many were beaten, hit with broom handles, belts, a rake and shovel, and punched and kicked by the Connors.
The men were paid as little as £5 for a day's hard labour on jobs which would earn the family several thousands of pounds.
They were given so little food that they resorted to scavenging from rubbish bins at supermarkets.
In contrast, the Connors lived in large and well-appointed caravans fitted with luxury kitchens and flat-screen televisions.
William and Mary, known as Billy and Brida, enjoyed exotic holidays, including Dubai and a 10-day cruise around the Caribbean on the Cunard flagship liner Queen Mary 2.
The family also spent the spoils of their enterprise on breaks to Tenerife and Cancun in Mexico.
As well as holidays, they drove around in cars including an A-Class Mercedes saloon, a Rolls-Royce, a red Mini convertible, a Toyota Hilux pick-up, a Ford Ranger and a Mercedes van, and had built up a mounting property portfolio potentially now worth millions of pounds.
Detective Chief Inspector David Selwood, from Gloucestershire Police, said: "Billy Connors is a greedy and arrogant man. This was all about making him a lot of money.
"He could have been a drug dealer or a robber but his criminality was exploiting vulnerable men ... Offering the most vulnerable in society hope and then abusing their trust and making a fortune out of them."
Sixteen vulnerable men were liberated by police following covert surveillance of the family.
It is thought 37 men passed through the Connors' hands over several decades.
DCI Selwood added: "They're trying to move on with their lives but they still live in fear. They fear that William or John will turn up and tap them on the shoulder and say they're going to live with that fear for many years.
"Hopefully now they're locked up it will give them reassurance."
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what do you think?
How many deleted comments today on this post I wonder!!! Say one wrong word about this lovely type of family way of living and your. GONE lol
Adj. How long have you been posting on here?? Criticise any minority or ethnic group however justified and the Orange stasi come down on you like a ton of bricks
Dave I kno that i dont get many comments published lol over 70 percent deleted and none bigotred or hatered racsit posts what does my head in is when you use a word from the news post and ur gone ue Bo ob s
So it was going on for at least 20 years, yet between them they get 18 years jail time, not enough.... let's hope they get a hard time inside.
prison is to good for them. I read on Sky they had over £500k in bank accounts and drove Bentleys and Rangerovers. They will still be able to live a life of luxury when they are released.disgusting.
Daniel. Perhaps the proceeds of crime act may be of use here. That way they could possibly pay their slaves the back money they are owed
fantastic idea daven, makes alot of sense to the likes of us...but will it to the people in the Justice System?
Their assets should be seized and given to their victims!
Criminals inside the travelling community? How strange?Who'd have thought? Their normally such eloquent peacefull sophisticated people. . . Who have such good taste at weddings
It's not surprising that some people will try to smear ALL the travelling community because some of them are criminals like these detestable people. Like some people will condemn homeless people or drug addicts for being lazy or 'sc8m' or will try to portray ALL muslims to be fanatical suicide bombers or ALL Israelis as perpetrators of a second holocaust. All of which is wrong, narrow-minded, judgemental and bigoted.
So you think ALL travellers are criminals when they clearly are not? You think ALL homeless people are just 'lazy' , do you? Are ALL muslims suicide bombers then? Your comment does not make this clear.
In short, Adj, you ARE a bigot, plain and simple.
Shouldn't you be on a march somewhere Chris!!!!
Your opinions are irrelevant to me
Not yet, Neil, we're building for another big one plus a strikes for next year - THEN I'll be off on a march, in a town near you!
I can't see any comments like that Chris.
Chris,I presume by your post that you have never had much contact with travellers, or that you have never been threatened by them, had your vehicle stolen(van), had a group of 10 caravans pickups and tippers occupy your car park then demand with menaces £2k to leave and not harras your customers. How long this post will stay on here for telling truth.
This disgraceful family have got their well deserved comeuppance, the legal system for once has prevailed. Their ill gotten assets should be seized under the proceeds of crime act as stated by another poster.
well they are all going to jail . but ehat about their victims confisgate all their assests and give it to all of their victims when they all get released they will have nothing lets hope they get prayed on and then they will be treated the way they treated others
This crime is more and more common because of this joke governments job cuts means more and more people will be homeless and in this situation
Agree why not just run off
Darren - should have been gratefull? For slavery? Are you currently tarmacing somebodies driveway?
"Vulnerable" to me sounds like they may not have had the sense to run away or tell anyone. I would have, but then I wasn't them. The fact they were already homeless etc suggests they weren't able to look after themselves. Abused children with opportunities to tell anyone at school any day don't because they have been brainwashed. These guys were probably no different.
Ad love to be Cheryl Cole's slave
But this Government is doing this and getting away with it..
Made homeless and drug addicts work. Took them off the streets. Was not all bad. Were the go government is peeeed off is probs they did not pay enough tax.
I bet these lovely people have paid masses of income tax over the years- NOT. Seize everything,pay restitution to victims rest to HMRC. Victims were probably in fear of their lives if they ran. Sentence not near enough.
Now they are going to Prison who paying for it us' I bet they never paid any Tax in there life now they have the benefit of our prison system that is to good for them ? What i want to say Orange would Delete my post