Northern Ireland

Domestic servitude: Precious Izekor is denied bail

Belfast High Court

A pregnant mother-of-two charged with making a woman carry out forced labour at her Belfast home has been remanded in custody.

Precious Izekor, 25, of Castlereagh Place, appeared at the High Court in Belfast on Thursday with an application for bail, which was rejected.

She was deemed a "flight risk" and police said there was a risk of her interfering with witnesses.

Mrs Izekor is accused of keeping the woman against her will for nine months.

The Nigerian victim says she was forced to clean and babysit for no pay and was locked in the house.

Ms Izekor is charged along with her husband, John Osarobo Izekor, of keeping the woman against her will between December 2016 and September 2017 at their home in Castlereagh.

'Vulnerable'

The victim, who is in her 30s, was described in court as being vulnerable. She has never been to school and has the learning age of a four-year-old, the court heard.

She says she came to Belfast with the promise of paid work and eventually the chance at residency, but neither transpired.

She says she was locked in the home by Mrs Izekor, who has roots in Sierra Leone but has lived in the UK since she was six.

Mrs Izekor was described in court as "bright". She has a degree in economics from Stirling University and has worked for some time at Santander bank.

Her young children are living with their maternal grandmother in Glasgow.

Defence says the victim was a family employee, who had a contract which stated she would be paid £350 per month, plus full board.

The couple claim the allegations are a malicious attempt by the alleged victim to extend her stay in the UK. They say the allegations were made as the woman's UK visa was about to expire.

No date has yet been set for the trial.

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