Belfast Telegraph

Accountant accused of keeping domestic slave granted bail

The alleged victim told police she believed she would be given freedom after working for five years.
The alleged victim told police she believed she would be given freedom after working for five years.

By Alan Erwin

An accountant accused of keeping a Nigerian woman with the mental age of a four-year-old as domestic slave in Belfast has been granted bail.

Osarobo Izekor, 33, is to be released from custody under conditions including a £15,000 cash surety and a ban on entering the city, a judge ruled on Thursday.

The 33-year-old Nigerian national, with an address at Castlereagh Place in Belfast, is charged with requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory behaviour.

His pregnant wife, Precious Izekor, 26, is already out on bail on the same charge.

They allegedly kept the 31-year-old woman in servitude at their home between December 31, 2016 and October 1, 2017.

The couple deny any wrongdoing, claiming they only ever tried to help her settle and obtain work in the UK.

Detectives from the PSNI's Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit were called in after the alleged victim told a church friend about how she was brought to Northern Ireland in 2011 to work for another husband and wife.

She claimed that over a five-year period spent with that couple she was beaten, mentally abused and called a slave, previous courts heard.

According to her account arrangements were then made for her to go and live at the Izekors' house in 2017.

She believed that she would be paid £350 a month for cooking, cleaning and childcare duties, but claimed instead to have received no cash while her family was sent the equivalent of £21 a month.

During interviews the woman said she feared being sent back to a life of poverty in Nigeria.

She stated that she was not allowed out, was always working, and would be locked in the house when the family went out.

The alleged victim told police she believed she would be given freedom after working for five years.

According to the prosecution the woman has been assessed as having the learning age of a four-year-old.

It was also disclosed that she is now pregnant herself and living at other facilities.

Mounting a fresh application for bail on behalf of Osarobo Izekor at Belfast Magistrates' Court, defence counsel Barry Gibson insisted the charge is totally rejected.

"We say this girl had another motive to make these allegations against this family because her visa was coming to an end, her right to remain in the UK under contract of employment was coming to an end," he contended.

Mr Gibson described his client as a qualified accountant with post-graduate degrees in global business management obtained in Canada.

Granting bail for Izekor to live under curfew at an address approved by police, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes also ordered the accused to have no contact with the alleged victim.

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