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Dublin: 20°C Saturday 13 August 2022

Woman who held pensioner as slave and forced her to sleep in outhouse jailed in England

The victim, now aged 74, has learning difficulties.

Maria Miller
Maria Miller
Image: Metropolitan Police

A WOMAN WHO held a pensioner in slavery for more than four years has been jailed in England. 

Maria Miller (65), from Chingford in London, was found guilty of two counts of holding a person in slavery or servitude and one count of theft on 21 June last.

Today, at Snaresbrook Crown Court, she was sentenced two three-year sentences for the servitude charges and one year for a theft charge. All sentences are to run concurrently.

The court heard that Miller met the victim, now aged 74, outside a pet shop and invited her to volunteer in her charity shop.

In 2012 she persuaded the woman, who has learning difficulties, to move into her home address.

She then made her sleep on the floor and carry out tasks such as weeding the garden or clearing out animal shelters in exchange for meals or coming back inside the house, meaning she was often left outside working until late at night, the Metropolitan Police said. 

Refused to feed her 

Miller also took control of the victim’s bank account, became executor and sole trustee in her will and tried to persuade her to sell a property she owned, as well as refusing her access to a mobile phone, money or access to her own pension.

Police said the victim also lost a significant amount of weight as Miller often refused to provide meals for a number of days, as well as forcing her to sleep on the floor or in an outhouse.

J249-19Interior1 Miller's house Source: Metropolitan Police

On 14 June 2016, the victim managed to run away from the address and reported the abuse to police, who began an investigation.

Miller was arrested on 14 July 2016 and released on bail, before being charged on 16 November 2018.

Detective Sergeant James Earle, who led the investigation, today said: “Miller targeted one of society’s most vulnerable and the sentence received today reflects the gravity of her actions…

We know that the victim will never forget the years she spent in constant fear but we hope that she has some closure now Miller is behind bars.

“Her bravery in coming forward to police and reliving some of the worst experiences of her life in court is testament to her strength of character and we hope this sends out a message that the Metropolitan Police Service will seek to bring the strongest charges for such shocking criminal conduct where appropriate.”

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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