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House of Horrors pair will not face longer sentences

By Staff Reporter

The sentences handed down to the so-called House of Horrors couple - who imprisoned and sexually abused a mentally ill woman for eight years - will not be appealed on the grounds of undue leniency, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has said.

Keith Baker (61), of Drumellan Mews, Craigavon, was jailed for 15 years last month, and will spend a further five years on supervised licence after release.

His wife and co-accused Caroline Bernadette Baker (56), of the same address was handed three years for her role in the horrendous case, of which half is to be served on licence.

The pair kept a highly vulnerable woman with severe learning difficulties as a slave in horrifically squalid conditions.

She was sexually abused repeatedly by both, and this was found to have been filmed by a camera mounted on the ceiling of her scant room in which she was held a virtual prisoner.

She weighed just six stone when she was discovered.

During sentencing, the court was told the victim was held in a bare room without lighting, floor covering, bedclothes or curtains.

The only toilet she had access to was overflowing with human waste.

On being rescued by police, she was found to be severely emaciated, traumatised and with just one sound tooth in her mouth.

This had been her pitiful existence for some eight years until a whistleblower alerted authorities in 2012.

In the days after their sentencing at Craigavon Crown Court, the PPS announced there would be a review to establish if the sentences had been unduly lenient.

However, following a Press enquiry, a statement was released clarifying there would be no further action.

The PPS said: "The sentences handed down to Keith and Caroline Baker have been carefully considered and no legal basis has been found to refer them as unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal.

"An unduly lenient sentence is one that falls outside the range of sentences that a judge, taking into consideration all relevant factors and having regard to sentencing guidance, could reasonably consider appropriate.

"In other words, the sentence must not just be lenient, but must be unduly lenient."

It is still not clear if either of the Bakers intend to launch an appeal against the sentences handed down to them.

But questions remain unanswered as to how the victim was able to be brought to Northern Ireland from England and remain a prisoner for years after she was reported missing by her husband to police in March 2004.

They closed the investigation after apparently taking a call from a female using a phone number connected to the victim to say she was not missing but on holiday.

Suffolk Constabulary said last month that "there was no indication at the time to suggest that she was anyone but the named individual".

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