Father and son sentenced after man kept as slave for two years

A father has been jailed for 10 years after forcing a man to work as a slave at his scrap metal business without pay, while repeatedly beating him.

Anthony Baker, 49, and his son Harvey Baker, 19, repeatedly attacked their “vulnerable” 20-year-old victim for more than two years, while keeping him in a dilapidated caravan at their work site.

On Friday a court heard the men’s yard was raided by police in January following complaints by members of the public, who found the malnourished young man with extensive bruising and a broken jaw which prevented him from being able to speak properly.

Father and son slavery court case
Anthony Baker was given a 10-year jail sentence (South Wales Police/PA)

He told police he had been taken in off the streets by the elder Baker at the age of 18, but was then forced to work collecting scrap metal without payment, and fed one meal a day of tinned soup or baked beans.

He also said he was beaten “every day” at the scrap metal yard in Earlswood Cottages in Jersey Marine, Swansea, and was sometimes hit with a scaffolding bar.

Swansea Crown Court was told the father and son were arrested by police, while a nurse who treated the victim commented that he looked like someone from a concentration camp.

His fingers had been deliberately broken and his nose bitten, and he said he was used as a “human punch bag” by the pair, with one holding him as the other punched, on several occasions during his ordeal between October 2016 and January 2019.

The court heard he was left with a “distorted” face from his injuries, and with a burst ear drum and cauliflower ears.

He also received skin grafting while he was treated in hospital for a fortnight.

Father and son slavery court case
Harvey Baker was sentenced to six years in a young offender institution (South Wales Police/PA)

Anthony Baker, who the court heard had “limitations in intellect”, pleaded guilty to requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, inflicting grievous bodily harm, four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and unlawful wounding.

Harvey Baker pleaded guilty to six counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, unlawful wounding, and three counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Stephen Donnelly, defending Anthony Baker, said it was to his client’s credit he accepted the charges put to him, preventing his victim from having to sit through a trial.

Father and son slavery court case
The Bakers’ yard, where a 20-year-old man was kept as a slave (South Wales Police/PA)

Lee Davies, defending Harvey Baker, said he’d “had time to reflect, and he understands the seriousness of what he’s done”.

Judge Paul Thomas QC said he found it hard to believe the type of offence had taken place in the 21st century, calling the victim’s treatment “barbaric and savagely inhuman”.

Addressing Anthony Baker, he said: “It would have been utterly appalling if you had treated one of your animals the way your treated him, let alone a teenager.

Acting Detective Sergeant Heather Southway said:

💬 The defendants have shown no remorse for their actions in targeting a young and vulnerable victim and subjecting him to over two years of physical and emotional abuse.

Read more 🔽https://t.co/KV3B1yQ8Bo

^cy pic.twitter.com/tULRt9Q4gP

— South Wales Police (@swpolice) June 14, 2019

“On the pretext of giving him somewhere to live you made him your slave.

“You kept him hungry and thirsty. He had to live in conditions unfit for human habitation and was not properly clothed.

“It was cruel above all incredulity.

“He was hit on a regular basis with such cruelty and frequency it amounted to sadistic behaviour.

Father and son slavery court case
The outside of a metal bar used to hit the man kept as a slave (South Wales Police/PA)

“I consider you both got a power kick from having someone at your mercy. A powerless teenager.

“He will never recover fully from what you did to him.”

Father and son slavery court case
The inside of a caravan where the man was kept (CPS/PA)

Anthony Baker was given a 10-year jail sentence with an extension period of five years, and a 20-year modern slavery order, which will prevent him from employing anyone without first notifying South Wales Police.

Harvey Baker was sentenced to six years in a young offender institution.

Following the sentencing Catrin Attwell of the Crown Prosecution Service said the Bakers had “exploited the victim’s vulnerability”.

She said: “Modern slavery is a despicable crime.  It is hard to believe slavery is happening in our communities but this case reminds us that it does.”

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