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No charges for 'slaves' probe woman

A woman accused of keeping three women as slaves in a Maoist cult will face no further action after spending nearly a year on bail.

The 67-year-old, understood to be Chanda Pattni, was released from police bail today after she was arrested with her husband, Aravindan Balakrishnan, in Lambeth, south London, in November last year.

The couple were held after one of the alleged victims contacted a charity, claiming she had been brainwashed into remaining in a political collective for decades.

Scotland Yard did not name Ms Pattni, but said: "A 67-year-old woman arrested on Thursday 21 November in connection with an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude has been released today, Wednesday 24 September, with no further action."

Mr Balakrishnan, who is now due to answer police bail in mid-December, is still under investigation as part of the slavery probe, and has also been accused of sex offences.

The force said: "A 73-year-old man arrested on Thursday 21 November 2013 in connection with an investigation into slavery and domestic servitude and further arrested in relation to serious sexual offences on Tuesday 29 July 2014 has been re-bailed to a date in mid-December."

It was claimed that the three women - a Briton, an Irishwoman and a Malaysian - were kept in the cult for three decades.

Ms Pattni and Mr Balakrishnan were arrested after one of the women contacted the Freedom Charity following television coverage on forced marriages.

Staff from the organisation, which advises and supports victims of forced marriages or honour-based violence, then contacted Scotland Yard, who agreed to wait a number of days before making arrests.

Footage later emerged of two of the women in a 1997 documentary about Sian Davies, who was fatally injured when she fell from a window of a house used by the political group in Herne Hill, south London.

One of them, thought to be Irishwoman Josephine Herivel, was seen telling the film- makers: ''You're part of the fascist state.''


From Belfast Telegraph