Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nigeria couple living in U.K. face jail time for keeping househelp captive for 24 years

A top doctor and his wife have have been convicted of keeping a man as a slave for nearly a quarter of a century after bringing him to the UK from Nigeria.

Doctor Emmanuel Edet, 61, and his wife Antan, 58, took Ofonime Sunday Edet, now 40, when he was just 12-years-old from his family without their permission in 1989 before he agreed to be their ‘house boy’.

He was held in “invisible handcuffs” from 1989, too terrified to flee the family-of-four’s home where he slaved away as a “houseboy.”

He had agreed to work for them in exchange for money and education - but the couple paid him just £2-a-week and Ofonime was forced to work for a staggering 17 hours every day for 24 years.

The Edets - who worked as a gynecologist and senior nursing sister - controlled what the victim wore and when he could leave the house.

They also ordered him to speak to them in Nigerian and in English to their children while leaving numerous notes detailing the hours he would have to carry out.

He was made to sleep on the floor of their home on a piece of dirty foam - despite their being a spare room in the house.

They also forbade him to enter any of the rooms of the house unless he was cleaning them and set up CCTV cameras in their home to keep an eye on him whenever they went away.

His only treat in his entire time with the family was a trip to Flamingo Land in Scarborough in 1991.

As the family moved about from Caterham to Scarborough, Walsall and then finally west London, Ofonime was kept from others.

They moved to Northolt in 1995 before settling in a rented house in Perivale, west London, in 2001.

The Edets managed to fool people by claiming that the man had been adopted and suffered for years until he saw a report on modern day slavery and contacted the Hope for Justice charity.

Antan and Emmanuel Edet were arrested in March last year and have now been found guilty of holding a person in slavery or servitude, child cruelty and assisting unlawful immigration.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Brewer, from the Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, said that the victim now has a new life in the UK, with a job and his own home.

He added: “While he will never fully overcome what happened during those 24 years, he is determined to make the most of the rest of his life and today’s conviction will help him feel he can do that. In his own words, he has hope and a future now.”

The Edets are due to be sentenced today.


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