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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images
# domestic slavery
Neighbours saw slavery case women walking near flats 'every day'
Police say they’re working to establish how the “collective” came to an end and how the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects.

RESIDENTS IN FLATS near the south London home where three women — including a 57-year-old from Ireland — were allegedly held captive for thirty years have said they often saw the women walking outside and even talking to police.

One resident of Peckford Place flats in Brixton told Channel 4 News he saw the women outside in the area “every day” and had often seen them speaking with officers.

“That’s why I don’t know how they couldn’t go to the police. They even talked to the police. I’ve actually seen them talk to the police. That’s why it’s crazy to me.

The neighbour said that though the women spoke to police officers, they didn’t “talk to people”.

Another resident spoke of how he had once called to the door of the home, and said that all five residents had come to the door at once.

“There was five people at the door basically, and, it was just weird… like they wanted to say something but they didn’t.”

Officers believe two of the three women victims met the male suspect in London “through a shared political ideology” and that they lived together in “a collective”.

Efforts are now under way to establish how that collective came to an end and how the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects.

Met Police Commander Steve Rodhouse spoke of “invisible handcuffs” that were used to control the women, and said they had built up a “disturbing picture of emotional control over many years”.


Officers stand outside the flats yesterday [Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images]

Along with the Irish woman, a 69-year-old Malaysian and a 30-year-old British woman were also rescued on 25 October, one week after first making secret telephone contact with a charity.

The two suspects in the case, a man and woman, have been released on bail.  It was confirmed yesterday that they are originally from India and Tanzania and came to Britain in the 1960s.

Residents at Peckford Place said the flats had been built in 2005, meaning the women and the suspects must have moved there in the course of their alleged imprisonment.

Officers have been carrying out door-to-door enquiries in the area this weekend.

Rodhouse said police were still working “to gain the trust and confidence of the highly traumatized victims” and said the process would take time.

Read: Enslaved women traumatised but doing ‘remarkably well’ >

More: Irish Embassy in London look to establish details behind woman freed from slavery >

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