Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

'Sex slaves' couple are named after judge lifts gagging order

A married couple accused of holding two women as sex slaves for over a decade can now be identified, a court has ruled.

Husband and wife Keith Baker (57) and Caroline Bernadette Baker (51), from Drumellen Mews, Craigavon, Co Armagh, are accused of a number of offences against two women, one of whom suffers severe learning disabilities.

Mr Baker is charged with a total of 15 offences including rape, voyeurism and human trafficking.

He is also charged with sexual assault, aiding and abetting rape, and false imprisonment.

It has been alleged that Mr Baker held one of the women in squalid conditions over a 10-year period where he repeatedly sexually abused her, along with his wife.

It is also alleged that Mr Baker filmed sexual abuse carried out on the woman by a "number of unknown men".

Mrs Baker is charged with falsely and injuriously imprisoning the same woman between January 2004 and December 2012.

She is also accused of a total of eight sexual offences which involve allegedly having carried out or encouraged sexual acts in the knowledge the victim was unable to refuse due to her learning disability.

Reporting restrictions in the case were lifted by the judge at Craigavon Magistrates Court yesterday.

The case is due back in court at the end of February, with Mr Baker remaining in custody and Mrs Baker remanded on continuing bail.

An earlier court appearance heard that the alleged offences, committed between 2004 and January last year, are all denied. Mr Baker had informed police officers that the victim had fully consented.

During searches of their home laptop computers, cameras, recording equipment and mobile phones were seized.

A previous court was told one of the alleged victims, a malnourished English woman with severe learning disabilities, had been raped repeatedly and imprisoned for nearly a decade at the specially adapted house where the Bakers lived.

Prosecutors claimed one of the victims, a married woman said to have gone missing from her home in 2004, weighed just six stone after being kept locked in a sparse and unlit bedroom with no inside door handle.

Video footage of sex acts involving both victims, their alleged captor, his wife and other unidentified men have been seized, a judge was told.

Mr Baker's barrister disputed any prosecution portrayal of his client as "a monster" overseeing a "house of horrors".

Police were called in after one of the alleged victims informed a social services learning disability team that another woman in her 40s from England had been living in an upstairs room at her home for the past six years.

The property consisted of two houses knocked into one, the court heard.

BACKGROUND

Yesterday Judge Rosemary Watters said: "I am lifting reporting restrictions in the case as the court has no power to implement them in these circumstances." The ruling marks the second time Press representations to the Lord Chief Justice's Office have been successful in having reporting restrictions lifted. Earlier this month a judge lifted reporting restrictions on a convicted paedophile.

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