Man jailed for slavery offences - St Albans

17/06/2016

A man appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Friday, 17 June 2016, and was jailed for four years for slavery offences.

Johnny Moloney (also known as Johnny Murphy), aged 26, of Watford Road, St Albans was sentenced today after being found guilty on 15 June 2016, by a jury, after an 8-day trial at St Albans Crown Court of one count of knowingly holding a person in servitude and one count of knowingly requiring another person to perform forced labour between April 2010 and December 2014.

The court heard how the victim, now aged 43, was homeless, jobless and dependent upon alcohol when he was befriended by Moloney in 2004 and taken from central London to a site in Watford Rd, St Albans. He had, falsely, been promised paid work, food and a place to live in a flat. He was taken to Bedfordshire for a brief period before being returned to Hertfordshire and forced to live in sheds and a camper van with no sanitation.

The victim was forced to work 6-7-days a week and up to 14-hours a day.  The work was hard physical labour, consisting of digging driveways and carrying bricks. Up until approximately 2011, he did not receive any money for that work. Thereafter, he received a daily rate of £30, a sum that barely amounted to £2.15 pence per hour.

Moloney bought the victim a passport, but kept control of it and, during the summer, the victim would be taken to Ireland, Sweden and Norway and various cities in England including Manchester, Nottingham and Birmingham and forced to lay paving slabs.

The victim contacted the emergency services on Christmas Day 2014 and asked to be protected. Police duly attended and placed the victim in a safe environment.  He was later to tell the police that he had been threatened with physical violence and was on occasions assaulted.

Peter Shaw, Crown Advocate for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "The victim was a vulnerable man, who was completely exploited by Moloney for his financial benefit and was treated in an appalling way.

"This case highlights the fact that both the police and the CPS are committed to securing justice even in the most difficult circumstances and for the most vulnerable members of our society.

"This case may not in fact be unique. Any members of the public who are concerned that a member of their family or their friends may have been or are being subjected to similar treatment should contact their local police without delay.

"The victim has been supported throughout the case by a number of agencies since his release from his ordeal, which, it is hoped, will give him an opportunity to recover from his ordeal.  Our thoughts are very much with him at this time."

Detective Inspector Pete Frost, who led the investigation, said: "Firstly, I would like to thank the victim who has spoken about his dreadful ordeal and who has helped us to bring this prosecution. He has shown strength and courage throughout this process. I hope the sentence passed today brings some comfort to him, knowing that the man who treated him in such an appalling manner has been sentenced for what he has done.

"To think that another human being was subjected to such cruelty and suffering and in such a degrading manner is abhorrent and almost defies belief, particularly considering this has happened in the twenty first century. Sadly, this is the reality of modern slavery which is unfortunately happening to others somewhere else right now.

"We all have a duty of care to watch out for and report suspicious activity which may be modern slavery so that we can help and prevent further suffering. I would ask anyone who has any suspicions at all that someone could be being subjected to modern slavery to call police immediately or the Modern Slavery helpline on: 0800 0121 700 or visit www.modernslavery.co.uk."

Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "The offences Moloney has been found guilty of represent the deliberate degrading of a fellow human being over a substantial period of time."