Oxford travellers cleared of slavery charge

Police officers in Operation Rague raid Image copyright Alex Skennerton
Image caption Thames Valley Police executed warrants at three locations in Oxford

Four people from a travellers' site in Oxford have been found not guilty of keeping a man as a slave.

Christopher Joyce, 81, Mary Joyce, 60, Helen Collins, 45, and Timothy Joyce, 45, all of Redbridge Hollow, Old Abingdon Road, were cleared after a six-week trial at Oxford Crown Court.

The charge related to Nicholas Iliff, who lived with them since the 1980s.

All but Timothy Joyce were convicted of conspiracy to defraud him of his benefits.

The four defendants faced a charge of conspiracy to force Mr Iliff to perform forced labour, but the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Timothy Joyce was also cleared of assault by beating against police officer William Stockwell.

The arrests were made as part of Thames Valley Police's Operation Rague, which relates to suspected human exploitation and slavery.

The Crown Prosecution Service will announce if there will be a retrial on the forced labour charge at a hearing on Friday.

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