‘Call us Mum and Dad’, Travellers tell homeless ‘slaves’
A homeless man was forced to work for a Traveller family and ordered to refer to his alleged captors as ‘mum and dad’, a court heard on Monday.
The 24-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was recruited by the Connors family in Newcastle in summer 2010 while he was living on the streets, Luton Crown Court was told.
He said he was promised £50 a day, accommodation and food. When he arrived at the Green Acres site, near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, he was ordered to call James Connors ‘dad’ and his wife Krystal ‘mum’, jurors heard.
The man said he was not paid for his work. He said he was given between one and three meals a day, but was given stew that ‘was not very nice’.
Lewis Power QC, representing defendant Tommy Connors (senior), said: ‘You were not forced or compelled to work. You were not forced to stay.’
The man said: ‘You did not feel you could walk away.’
Tommy Connors (senior) 52, Tommy Connors (junior), 26, James Connors, 24, Patrick Connors, 20, Johnny Connors, 28, James John Connors, 34, and Josie Connors, 30, all deny conspiracy to hold a person in servitude and conspiring to require a person to perform forced labour.
The trial continues.