Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: 'Northern Irish woman Josephine' believed to be at centre of London slave investigation

By Caitlin McBride and Claire Cromie

This is believed to be the 57-year-old Northern Irish woman who was held captive in a London home for 30 years.

The woman pictured has been named as Josephine Herival, according to ITV News.

She was featured in a 1997 documentary on the death of Maoist Sian Davies (44), who died after falling from a window.

Miss Davies died after plunging from the bathroom of a house rented by the couple suspected of holding three women against their will.

Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda were arrested last week by UK police amid allegations that they held three women for more than 30 years.

The 'slave' case of three women came to light after the 57-year-old Irishwoman rang the Freedom Charity last month to say she had been held against her will.

The Metropolitan Police is trying to establish whether she is from Northern Ireland.

She has been described as Irish and doesn't hold a passport, but reports have suggested she hails from Armagh and left many years ago to study in Dublin, before moving on to London.

Scotland Yard said that part of the agreement on October 25 when the women were removed from the address was that police would not take any action at that stage.

None of the women was reported missing after being rescued, police said, and all three are now in the care of a specialist non-governmental organisation.

Officers have recovered a birth certificate for the 30-year-old woman, who is believed to have lived her entire life in servitude, but no other official documents for her have been found.

The couple, who are of Indian and Tanzanian origin and came to the UK in the 1960s, have now been released on bail until a date in January.

A Lambeth Council spokeswoman said the case was "very complex" dating back decades and was a police-led operation, adding: "We are working very closely with police."

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