Belfast Telegraph

Home of 'house of horrors' accused is attacked six times by thugs

By Paul Higgins

A house where a woman was allegedly subjected to rape and long-term sexual abuse by a husband and wife has been attacked six times, a judge has heard.

The husband and wife who are accused of subjecting the woman to years of abuse, Keith and Caroline Baker, appeared in the dock at Craigavon Magistrates Court yesterday where they were committed to the Crown Court for trial on the litany of sex offences.

Mr Baker (57), who appeared in a wheelchair for the short hearing, faces a total of 16 offences including six counts of rape and single offences of indecent assault, false imprisonment, false imprisonment to commit sex offences, sexual activity, sexual activity with a person suffering from a mental disability and inciting a person with a mental disability to engage in sexual activity. They are all alleged to have occurred between May 1, 2004 and December 20, 2012.

His wife Caroline (51) faces a total of nine offences allegedly committed against the woman with mental disabilities.

These include aiding and abetting rape, false imprisonment, false imprisonment to commit a sexual offence, indecent assault, sexual activity with a person with a mental disability and inciting a mentally disabled person to engage in sexual activity, all alleged to have occurred between the same dates.

It was alleged in previous court hearings that Mr Baker held the woman in squalid conditions and along with his wife, repeatedly sexually abused her.

The court also heard how in the police view, Mr Baker had exerted "manipulation and control" over the alleged victim who had suffered years of "domestic and sexual abuse" at his hands.

During searches of their home at Drumellen Mews in Craigavon, laptop computers, cameras, recording equipment and mobile phones were seized by police.

It has also been claimed that the alleged victim, 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.

The Bakers claim that any sexual acts were consensual. Yesterday, District Judge Mervyn Bates said he was satisfied there was a prima facie case against the couple. Committing them to Craigavon Crown Court for trial, Judge Bates released Mrs Baker on continuing bail and remanded Mr Baker back into custody to appear there on August 7.

During an application to vary Mrs Baker's bail, the judge heard that in the last three months, the home where the couple are alleged to have abused the woman has been attacked six times with youths breaking windows. There was graffiti daubed on the walls declaring: "House of horrors, get the scum out of here".

A police officer outlined how Mrs Baker had called 999 numerous times to report that her door "was being kicked in" and that windows were being smashed, adding that police officers at the scene had verified the damage caused.

The officer also revealed that the home of the Bakers' daughter has also been subjected to attack.

On foot of that evidence, Judge Bates put in place a reporting restriction, barring the media from revealing Mrs Baker's new address and reprinting her image.

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