Belfast Telegraph

London slave was a former Methody pupil

By Padraic Grant

A Belfast woman involved in the London "Slavery Scandal" attended Methody College in the south of the city, it has been revealed.

Josephine Herivel (pictured) was one of three people allegedly freed from 30 years of slavery in a south London household last month.

The story of the three became more complex when it was revealed that the Irish woman had first come into contact with a group led by the arrested Aravindan Balakirhnan 30 years ago and joined up due to shared political beliefs.

Balakrishnan, known as "Comrade Bala," led the Workers' Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, a group known for its bizarre approach to far-left politics.

Details of Herivel's background emerged on Wednesday, as it was revealed her father was an academic who had helped crack the Enigma code, a pivotal moment for the Allied victory in the Second World War.

John Herivel received training from Alan Turing, the father of computer science, and developed a method of code-breaking that received his name, the Herivel Tip. He later taught at Queen's University where he lectured on the history of science.

He had three daughters, with Josephine excelling as a musician before moving to London, where she later became involved with the sect. It is believed that she was the person who rang the Freedom Charity that eventually led to the women being rescued.

Belfast Telegraph


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