Connors trial: Worker 'would have been found if he left'

Related Stories

A man "forced to work" for a traveller family for 18 years "stuck it out" because he "would have been found" if he left, a court was told.

Bristol Crown Court heard how men were forced to work in Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

Alexander Gourlay said he wanted to leave but had "nowhere to stay".

William Connors, 52, Brida (Mary) Connors, 48, their sons John, 29, and James Connors, 20, and son-in-law Miles Connors, 23, deny the charges.

Start Quote

Every time a workman leaves Billy always goes out to find them. Billy knows exactly where they are”

End Quote Alexander Gourlay

Giving evidence via video link Mr Gourlay, 54, said William Connors, known as Billy, would have gone to find him if he had left, so he "stuck it out".

'Given cake'

"I wanted to leave but I had no place to stay. I would have to stay on a park bench or another hostel," Mr Gourlay said.

"If I went to a hostel Billy would have come and found me.

"Every time a workman leaves Billy always goes out to find them. Billy knows exactly where they are."

Being questioned by Michael Borrelli QC, representing William Connors, Mr Gourlay told the court he felt like he was "part of the family" and was given a birthday cake and a party in an Irish club and on another occasion TV was bought for him.

Mr Gourlay said some of the other workmen were alcoholics and William Connors had difficulty in stopping them drinking as he wanted them fit for work.

"Billy told us that we couldn't drink on the actual job or before," he said.

"He always told us that he didn't mind us drinking the night before but make sure we were sober in the morning, ready for work."

Police carried out a series of raids on travellers sites in March 2011. Mr Gourlay was found in a caravan in Kirk Lane, Enderby, Leicestershire.

Many of the alleged victims were housed in caravans at Beggars Roost site in Staverton, near Cheltenham.

The defendants all deny charges of conspiracy to hold another person in servitude and conspiracy to require a person to carry out forced or compulsory labour.

The trial continues.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Gloucestershire

Weather

Gloucester

Min. Night 17 °C

Features

  • NS Savannah, 1962Nuclear dream

    The ship that totally failed to change the world


  • Ed Miliband takes a selfie at a Cambridge hairdressersNo more photo ops?

    Why is Ed Miliband drawing attention to his public image?


  • Espresso cup7 days quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?


  • Glasgow 2014 quaichs and medalsQuaich guide

    What do the Scottish gifts given to Games medallists symbolise?


  • Malaysian plane wreckage in UkraineFlight risk

    How odd is it for three planes to crash in eight days?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.