Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rooke family treated vulnerable man as 'slave'

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Media captionCraig Kinsella was told if he tried to escape, he was a "dead man"

An ice cream seller has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for imprisoning a man with learning difficulties and treating him "like a slave".

David Rooke, 44, also pleaded guilty to regular violent assaults on Craig Kinsella, 34, who he forced to live in his garage in Sheffield.

Rooke's son Jamie, 19, pleaded guilty to affray and assault and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.

Rooke's wife Donna, 40, was jailed for four months for battery.

'Grotesque and inhuman'

Image caption David Rooke forced Mr Kinsella to live in his garage through violence and intimidation

Police had been called to the property in Halifax Road, Grenoside, Sheffield, following a fight with a neighbour last July.

An officer noticed Mr Kinsella's injuries and he was taken to hospital.

David Brooke, prosecuting, said: "He (Mr Kinsella) went on to explain that he'd been living in the garage and that he'd slept on a piece of carpet and used an old curtain as a blanket.

"He wasn't paid by the family nor fed regularly and he regularly picked food from the wheelie bin to eat. He was obviously emaciated."

Mr Brooke said Mr Kinsella had been living in the garage for about six weeks and had also been subjected to violence and intimidation.

He had been attacked with a range of weapons including pickaxe handles, spade handles and a crowbar.

"He became what he called a slave, working from 7.30 in the morning to 11 or 12 at night," he added.

Det Insp Vicky Short, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "David, Donna and Jamie Rooke abused Mr Kinsella for their own pleasure until his spirit and will to stand up for himself and fight back was crushed.

"It has hard to understand how any human being could treat an individual in such a grotesque, callous and inhuman manner."

Jailing the family, Judge Peter Kelson QC said it was "staggering" this could happen in modern society.

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