Modern slavery victim fed takeaway scraps and too scared to escape

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A homeless man fed on takeaway meals scraps and was too scared to try to escape after being held as a slave on a travellers’ site near Lincoln, a court was told.

As previously reported, 45-year-old Joseph Rooney from Washingborough is on trial over allegations he deliberately targeted victims who were homeless or alcoholics, forcing them to pave driveways for little or no money and live in squalid conditions.

One of the alleged victims, a 55-year-old man who was living in a tent in Lincoln, gave evidence at Leicester Crown Court on how Rooney approached him and offered to take him for a bath at the Washingborough site, according to the BBC.

The man also testified how he was paid just £10 a day for 15 hours’ work, being forced to pave driveways and carry out other duties, including washing trailers and clearing rubbish.

After two weeks the man, who has not been named, tried to escape and return to his tent, but he was caught by Rooney and members of his family two miles away, the court was told.

The man reportedly said he was too scared to make any further attempts to escape after he witnessed another man being beaten for the same thing, so he stayed at the site for a further two years.

The prosecution claims Rooney preyed upon five men and the offences are alleged to have taken place between 2010 and 2014.

Joseph Rooney denies one count of conspiracy to require persons to perform forced or compulsory labour, as well as three counts of causing actual bodily harm.

The trial continues.

In September 2017, nine members of the notorious traveller family based in Lincoln were handed jail sentences totalling nearly 80 years for running a modern-day slavery camp.