Homeless man tells court of dramatic escape bid
A homeless man plunged into a canal in a bid to escape a family of Travellers who were holding him captive, a court heard this week.
The 23-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he made his bid for freedom after members of the Connors family told him he would end up ‘damaged’ if he tried to escape or informed the police of their activities.
Seven members of the Connors family are accused of keeping dozens of vulnerable homeless men in captivity and forcing them to work at the site over a 15-year period.
The man spent a short time at the Green Acres caravan park near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire in August 2009.
Shortly after being lured to the site he said he was forced to canvas for driveway work on behalf of the family and claimed that members of the public who had work done were ‘ripped off’.
He escaped the site four days after arriving by climbing a fence and jumping into a canal after he was spotted by children from the site.
Prosecutors had earlier told jurors at Luton Crown Court how the family picked up victims from soup kitchens and homeless centres.
They are accused of keeping the men in squalid conditions, forcing them to work unpaid and preventing them from leaving the site.
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.
- Police are told men are being held and forced to work on the Green Acres caravan park in Leighton Buzzard by a man who says he has escaped
- Officers raid the site on 11 September 2011 and discover 13 male workers
- Seven members of the Connors family are charged with consipring to hold a person in servitude and to require a person to perform forced labour
- One man claims during the trial at Luton Crown Court that he was ‘recruited’ by the Connors family in the mid-1990s and received £80 in 15 years