Four jailed in Cardiff modern slavery case

24/05/2016

Four men have been jailed at Cardiff Crown Court, after a jury found them guilty of a variety of offences of modern slavery, kidnap and assault.

Patrick Joseph Connors, his son Patrick Dean Connors and nephew William Connors were all found guilty of modern slavery offences - requiring two victims to perform forced or compulsory labour. Patrick Joseph Connors was also convicted of eight counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, four counts of kidnap and one of conspiracy to kidnap. Connors senior's son-in-law, Lee Carbis, was cleared of modern slavery offences but found guilty of kidnap. The jury also found  Patrick Dean Connors not guilty of conspiracy to kidnap and William Connors not guilty of assault.

Patrick Joseph Connors was jailed for 14 years, Patrick Dean Connors for six and a half years and William Connors for four years. Lee Carbis received a two and a half year sentence.

The court heard that the Connors kept Michael Hughes and a second victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in appalling conditions at a farm in Rumney and forced them to work for little or no recompense. Both victims were threatened or beaten if they tried to escape. In the case of Michael Hughes, he remained under the control of the family for around 21 years.
Speaking after the trial Catrin Evans, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service Cymru/Wales Complex Casework Unit, said:

"Patrick Joseph Connors, Patrick Dean Connors, William Connors and Lee Carbis are guilty of exploiting and controlling their vulnerable victims in a callous manner over a prolonged period of time.

"Their victims were treated as commodities to be used as the defendants saw fit. They were kept in appalling living conditions and repeatedly threatened with violence if they tried to escape. Consequently, one victim remained under the control of the Connors for over 20 years, with the second victim managing to successfully escape at his fourth attempt.

"Those who seek to demean the value of life by depriving others of the most basic of human rights should be in no doubt that we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.

"Today's convictions are a direct result of the immense courage both victims have shown in coming forward to report what happened.  The criminal justice system cannot undo what has happened to them, nor give them back the years they have lost, but we hope that these convictions will give them some measure of assistance as they continue to rebuild their lives."