Liverpool

Man kept as a 'slave' in couple's cupboard after being trafficked

Robertas Repsas and Rita Jablonskaite Image copyright Lynda Roughley
Image caption Robertas Repsas and Rita Jablonskaite allegedly brought the man to the UK in the summer of 2017

A Lithuanian man was trafficked into the UK to work as a slave and made to sleep in a cupboard, a court has heard.

Robertas Repsas, 31, and Rita Jablonskaite, 34, assisted in arranging Igor Jeriomcenkov's 2017 trip to "exploit him", the jury was told.

When he left the couple allegedly arranged for a woman from Lithuania to be trafficked and exploited her too.

The couple, of Westland Drive, Poulton-in-Fearnhead both deny trafficking charges at Liverpool Crown Court.

They also deny holding a person in slavery or servitude and requiring the man to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Ms Jablonskaite also denies another charge of people trafficking involving the Lithuanian woman.

They are also accused of raiding Mr Jeriomcenkov's bank account and applying for loans in his name after he was brought to the UK in a minibus.

'Animal'

Prosecuting Nicola Daley said: "They controlled not only where he was living and where he worked but also his finances as well."

She told the jury that the couple "exercised power over him as you might over an animal".

Ms Daley he was made to sleep in an attic when he first arrived, she said, until the couple moved house.

After this, she said, "he described sleeping under the stairs on a mattress, with a pillow and blanket and there was no ventilation or a window."

The court heard that he eventually "stood up for himself and left" after a year.

His place was taken by Vida Aceviciene, 51, the court heard.

The case continues.

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