23/05/2017 Spotlight


23/05/2017

Chris Moore tells the inside story of a Craigavon sex abuse case, where a husband and wife were jailed for assaulting a vulnerable woman who they kept captive for eight years.


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Transcript


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This has been described as the house of horrors.

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It's the place where a vulnerable, defenceless woman with

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serious learning difficulties was held prisoner by a sexual predator.

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He brought her to a house he ruled by fear,

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and where he had created the perfect hiding place for his victim...

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..until she eventually was rescued by the police.

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They were talking to the woman and they said, "Do you want to leave?"

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And she says, "No, because I'm scared."

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And I turned around and said to her, "Don't be scared, just go.

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"Get out of here, don't look back, just go."

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Physically, she was very thin, she was quite dirty,

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she didn't look particularly well.

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It was clear something had gone wrong.

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Held captive for years, the woman was subjected to humiliating

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and degrading treatment in the squalor of an upstairs bedroom,

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sometimes with just sweets to eat.

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She was a middle-aged, married woman, but the reality was

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she was childlike, with the mental age of a five or six-year-old.

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She didn't have the ability to communicate with others, to

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explain what was happening and try to be rescued from her predicament.

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The home, seen here on the right,

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was isolated on the edge of Craigavon.

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We've been inside the building, now under new ownership.

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This is the bedroom... It's small, ten foot by six.

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..where the woman was kept prisoner by her tormentors,

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Keith Baker and his wife, Caroline.

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She had no heating, no clean bedding. And up in the ceiling,

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the Bakers had fixed a camera so that they could film and record

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themselves raping and repeatedly sexually abusing the woman.

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The recordings are graphic,

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they are obviously recorded over a significant period of time.

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Very few people could watch it and not be affected by it.

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I certainly was affected by it.

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We have obtained some police recordings of the interviews

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with Keith Baker.

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During questioning, he said the woman,

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who can't be named for legal reasons, was a guest who was

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there of her own free will and capable of giving consent.

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This is Keith Baker.

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This is Caroline, his wife.

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They had four children together.

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And this is Mandy Highfield, his mistress for 23 years.

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She too had four children with Keith.

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Extraordinarily, all 11 of them lived together in adjoining houses.

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The same houses where the vulnerable woman was kept locked upstairs.

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She was there for a month and then I said to him,

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"Is she going back?" And he said, "No, not yet."

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And he kept telling us that she wasn't going back.

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In fact, she was locked in the home for eight years,

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until Mandy told the police about the woman she'd often tried to help.

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I'd bring her down and give her a cup of tea and something to eat.

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As soon as I heard him, I'd put her back upstairs.

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-And did she talk to you, did she say...?

-Yeah, she talked to me.

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She would just say, "I like your kids, I like you."

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"I'm scared of Keith," she says.

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Keith Baker was a violent and abusive man who targeted

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vulnerable women.

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For decades, he avoided prosecution by using his physical

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strength to control those he abused.

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Despite the fact that Baker and his wife, Caroline, are now in prison,

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his abilities to manipulate those around him means that even

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today, members of his family continue to believe in him.

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Two of Keith Baker's sons agreed to speak to us.

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Malcolm is Caroline's son, Gareth is Mandy's son.

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You believe Keith and Caroline are entirely innocent?

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Yes, definitely, 100%. One million percent.

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Far from being innocent,

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Spotlight can show that Keith Baker spent decades controlling his

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family and avoiding prosecution for persistent domestic violence.

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Violence ended Keith Baker's first marriage in the '70s before

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he met and married his present wife, Caroline,

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in Belfast in the early '80s.

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Right from the start, Keith Baker was violent to Caroline.

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Spotlight has established that social services went to the

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High Court to make one of the Baker children a ward of court,

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and appoint a social worker to look after the child's interests.

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This limited Baker's access to the child.

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The social worker would actually be appointed by the master in

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the High Court, and their job, really,

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is to look after the welfare of the child who is the ward of court.

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And look out for their best interests.

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But after three years of the order, Keith and Caroline fled

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Northern Ireland, in breach of the court order.

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Years later, Baker boasted about this to Mandy.

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Yeah, he told me he had to do a runner, and I said, "Why is that?"

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And he says, "Because BLEEP is under a ward of court and we had to

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-"get out of there."

-Out of where?

-Out of Ireland, Northern Ireland.

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We were working with the family and they had left without any

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notification to social services.

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They were in breach of the ward of court,

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so we had a responsibility to get a message out into the system,

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and we do what's called a missing persons alert.

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That would have went out regionally within Northern Ireland,

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but also nationally across the other social services.

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It wasn't long before the alert brought

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a response from social services in Guernsey.

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The Baker family had turned up on the island,

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where the Northern Ireland court order would not apply,

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so the court order was revoked.

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This is Guernsey in the English Channel,

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closer to France, which, on a clear day, you can see just over there,

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than it is to Britain.

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And yet, even though it's a British Crown dependency,

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it's independent, it has its own government,

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its own laws and even its own chief minister.

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Now free of the court order, the Bakers began setting up home in

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Guernsey, where Keith Baker was born in 1956, one of a family of seven.

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He grew up in this street, and attended Amherst Primary School.

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This is him in the school photograph around 1967.

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David Baker is Keith's older brother.

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They both witnessed the violence inflicted on their mother by

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their father. Keith, too, had a violent temper.

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A lot of people would tell you Keith was quite a violent person,

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even in his younger days, late teens would be.

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-Would you say he had a temper?

-Yeah.

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In 1989, despite being married to Caroline, Baker met

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Mandy Highfield in what was Taylors Bar, here in Guernsey.

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At first, he charmed her.

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Keith had quite a reputation, he was a ladies' man.

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You know, he had various ladies wherever he went.

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I was in a bar and he was working and

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he was walking past on his break and...we started chatting.

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He seemed to be a really nice, genuine guy, like.

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Mandy was a vulnerable woman who'd had a difficult childhood.

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She longed for some stability in her life.

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He was a nice guy and I looked at him as a dad figure in a way,

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because he wanted to look after me,

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he wanted to protect me and all this. And I liked that.

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Mandy had fallen in love.

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Keith Baker then told her he was a single parent.

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He just said that he had three children.

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Then this woman came out and I said, "Who's that?"

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And he said, "That's my live-in nanny." And I went, "Right."

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And I go, "So where's their mum?" He says, "Oh, she's not here with us any more."

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The woman Mandy met was Caroline, Keith's wife,

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not his live-in nanny.

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Mandy didn't have a clue about Keith Baker's secret life

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as a wife-beating manipulator.

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Keith was...

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He was quite a bully. You know, had no...

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I've got to be honest and say he had no respect for Caroline whatsoever.

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Caroline was in hospital quite a lot. Keith used to...

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beat her something wicked. You know, the bruises she had all over.

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Keith's always been that way to Caroline.

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For a time, Keith, Caroline and Mandy all moved into this

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council house, and the domestic abuse started against Mandy.

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He told me I wasn't allowed to talk to my family,

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I wasn't allowed to talk to people, I wasn't allowed to have friends.

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I wasn't allowed to go out without him knowing.

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What would happen if you did any of those things,

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-if you spoke to your family?

-He would hit me for it.

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When I got home, he would hit me.

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Guernsey police confirmed that Keith Baker was often in trouble

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with them, but declined to give details.

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What happened with the Baker family here in Guernsey provided

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evidence of a disturbing pattern of interventions by social services.

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Keith Baker's sons remember that they had occasionally been

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taken into care.

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Social services followed the family when we went to Guernsey and

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then sort of... Things... They were constantly trying to take us away.

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They kept asking us questions and everything all the time.

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Baker's total control was such that his sons supported him

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and wanted to be with him.

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They often referred to Mandy and Caroline simply as the two mums.

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If my dad was on his own in the house and the mums had

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walked out, social services would come and sort of take them off,

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because they used to turn around and say, sort of like,

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they didn't trust the dad with two daughters.

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For a decade, Baker had beaten Caroline and Mandy with the

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impunity that came from their fear of pressing charges against him.

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However, when he was caught doing the double,

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claiming state benefits while working as a lorry driver,

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Baker decided it was time to move on again.

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The family took the ferry to Northern Ireland and found

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a place to live in Craigavon at the end of 1999.

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It took these two houses,

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numbers three and four Drumellan Mews,

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to accommodate the Baker family when they arrived.

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I thought it was a nice place, nice, quiet place,

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where everybody would be able to get settled.

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The school was only around the corner, really.

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But just as their new life began in Craigavon, the beatings resumed.

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Social services in Guernsey passed on their files about the

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domestic violence to Craigavon social services.

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Within months, there was a violent incident.

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It was February 2000, when one of the ladies did end up...

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In fact, she made a statement,

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and both ourselves and the PSNI were involved in that.

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And she did go to the women's refuge with her children.

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I remember... It was because me and Keith had an argument and

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he hit me and I just walked out the house and I took the kids with me.

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But Mandy's son, Gareth, was unhappy that his mother had taken him

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away from his father.

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All I knew was I got taken out of Drumgor Primary School

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and I didn't get to see my family for a while.

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All I could do was just cry my eyes out, cry for Dad, sort of thing.

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Keith harassed and intimidated Mandy into returning home.

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And under pressure, she withdrew her statement to the police.

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Once again, Keith Baker had escaped the courts,

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and the beatings continued.

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He'd hit me in the face, sometimes he'd give me a black eye,

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sometimes he'd punch me on the arm, kept calling me a retard and

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spastic and nobody would like me, every...

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Nobody would like me,

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"You're nothing but an ugly...bitch" and all this.

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And he knocked my confidence and my self-esteem,

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so I started believing everything he was saying.

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Did social services become involved at any stage, to your

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recollection, when you lived in Drumellan Mews?

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One of the times whenever our mums walked out,

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the only time we were allowed to see each other was if we were in

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the supervised room, and then we had to have the social worker sat with us.

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Keith knew how to heap humiliation on the two mums,

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bringing other women to the house, forcing Mandy and Caroline to hide.

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We had to sit upstairs.

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He would say to the kids, "Well, when we go out,

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"you tell your mums to come down."

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But sometimes they wouldn't go out,

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so we'd have to sit upstairs all day and all night.

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And the kids would have to bring us up something to eat and

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a cup of coffee or something.

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Social services say that in 2004,

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contact with the Baker family stopped abruptly,

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with no further reports of violence.

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Incredibly, Keith Baker had a new plan.

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To bring a third woman to live in the house.

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He called Mandy to tell her.

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He phoned me and Caroline.

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He said, "Can you get a bedroom sorted?" And we went, "Right."

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But we only had the spare room and there was no carpet,

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nothing in there. Just a bed.

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And he said, "Just put some clean duvet covers and sheets on the bed."

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Malcolm says his dad had told them he was rescuing this woman

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from an abusive husband.

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He'd picked a woman up in England when coming back from a trip.

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We were coming back from sort of one of the holidays and then BLEEP

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just got into the car and came back with us.

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Once she went into the Baker house in Craigavon,

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seen here on the right, the woman disappeared.

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In the eyes of the world, she ceased to exist.

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Keith Baker was clever enough to conceal all trace of the woman.

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He made sure that she wasn't claiming benefits,

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that she wasn't registered with a doctor or a nurse,

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and he knew that no-one in the house could help her escape because

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he controlled all the bank cards and the money.

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Keith Baker had created the perfect hiding place for the perfect

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vulnerable victim.

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When she first come over, she was treated really well,

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she was downstairs with us, watching TV with us,

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eating with us, playing with the kids.

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She would play Barbies

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with my daughter and things like that.

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I used to sit there and try and teach her to how to play Viva Pinata

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and stuff like that on the X-Box, and stuff like that, and like,

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play Monopoly and everything.

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She had the mind of about a nine-year-old child,

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so I looked at her as one of my own kids, really.

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Baker tried to paint a picture of a happy woman,

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rather than a prisoner, when he was being

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interviewed by the police.

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Baker was a very clever, manipulative man who picked

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a very vulnerable woman, who brought her into

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Northern Ireland, who kept her within his home

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for his own and his wife's very cruel pleasure.

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Keith Baker and his sons lived in Number 4.

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Caroline and Mandy and the daughters lived in Number 3.

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The woman was given the small bedroom at the top of the stairs,

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right next to the daughters.

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Things started to go wrong when the secret guest began

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going into the other rooms.

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She had a sweet tooth and she often took chocolates

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from the children's bedrooms.

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This small event changed the woman's life.

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One of the kids told Keith and Keith stuck her in a cold shower

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and made everybody watch him do it.

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We tried stopping him and he'd just push us out the way

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and said, "It's my house, I'll do what I want."

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But when she continued to take sweets, a more drastic measure

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was introduced to discourage her.

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She's carried on taking the sweets again and so Keith says,

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"Right, this is it", and he took the door

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handle off of her door and left her sitting in the room.

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So when the handle was removed from inside the bedroom she had,

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you realise that effectively made her a prisoner?

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Prisoner, yeah.

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That's what I said to him, I said, "You're locking her up

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"like an animal, she's a prisoner in that room."

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He says, "No, because we'll let her out", and he was all

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big-headed about it and happy that he was doing it all.

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In a house with three adults and eight children,

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how could this woman's imprisonment go unnoticed?

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Some of the Baker children even claim the woman was free to come

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and go from her small room.

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-BLEEP

-was allowed anywhere inside the house she wanted.

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She would keep to herself most of the time.

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But she was allowed anywhere she wanted and the only one that

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ever stopped her from doing stuff like that was Mandy.

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But that's not Mandy's recollection.

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If she wanted to go to the toilet, she'd knock on the door and I'd say,

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"What do you want, love?"

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And she'd say, "Can I go to the toilet?"

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And I'd say, "Yeah, go on then."

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But sometimes the woman's knocking on the door and he'd say,

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"Just leave her".

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And I had to do what he said otherwise

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I'd have got a hiding.

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The woman endured this degrading treatment and sexual abuse

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at the hands of Keith and Caroline Baker for many years.

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Until 2012, one morning just before Christmas,

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when Keith Baker was out of the country.

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Mandy decided to bring the woman's suffering to an end.

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Em, I just had enough of all the abuse I was getting

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and she was getting it as well and I said, "I can't

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"cope with this anymore.

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"I'm not staying here and I am going to go and tell the police."

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Mandy was there when the police and social services rescued the woman.

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She says to me, "I love you" and "I love you too, my love",

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and she walked out with the police and the social worker.

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Detective Chief Inspector Claire McKernan has a clear memory

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of meeting the woman for the first time.

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I can remember her just standing there looking, you know,

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innocent, looking lost, and when I spoke to her,

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she just smiled at me.

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The police went back to Keith Baker's house

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after Christmas, when he'd returned from England.

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This time, they came with a search warrant.

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The police turned up and it wasn't just one or two policemen,

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it was loads of them come from nowhere, and they just

2:25:562:26:00

knocked on the door.

2:26:002:26:01

I opened the door and I said, "Hello."

2:26:012:26:03

I was sleeping on the settee

2:26:062:26:08

in the living room in Number 3 and the police just came

2:26:082:26:11

in and woke me up and they got all of the family together,

2:26:112:26:14

like in Number 4, and while we were all together that's when they went

2:26:142:26:18

round the rest of the house and collected all of the laptops

2:26:182:26:21

and computers, loads of DVDs and stuff like that.

2:26:212:26:24

They searched everywhere in the house and took everything

2:26:292:26:32

that belonged to Keith out.

2:26:322:26:35

Like, everything electrical they took out, that he was using.

2:26:352:26:39

In Keith's bedroom, the police came across the evidence that

2:26:412:26:44

would convict him and his wife, Caroline.

2:26:442:26:47

In a locked briefcase they found hundreds of photographs and hours

2:26:472:26:50

of home video recordings of Keith and Caroline sexually

2:26:502:26:54

abusing the woman.

2:26:542:26:55

They'd filmed it themselves.

2:26:552:26:57

It was prosecution gold dust.

2:26:572:26:59

We have a series of photographs, we also have recorded evidence,

2:27:022:27:07

some of which has voice over.

2:27:072:27:09

That really was compelling evidence in this case.

2:27:092:27:13

I can remember the evening we viewed it and just

2:27:132:27:15

being shocked at what we'd found. Very disturbing.

2:27:152:27:19

Very disturbing for the victim, obviously, and that's...

2:27:202:27:24

I think that's the hardest part of it, you know,

2:27:242:27:28

watching her suffer that.

2:27:282:27:30

Were you surprised that you found it there because, in truth,

2:27:302:27:33

he could have got rid of that evidence, couldn't he?

2:27:332:27:35

I don't know. I don't know why he didn't.

2:27:382:27:40

When you're in the middle of it and investigating it and you now

2:27:402:27:43

have all the information, you get a very strong sense

2:27:432:27:47

of control, you know.

2:27:472:27:49

So Keith Baker controlled everything around him and, you know,

2:27:492:27:55

I wouldn't have put it past him for him to feel that he could

2:27:552:27:59

control police also.

2:27:592:28:01

But Keith Baker could not control the police or explain the shocking

2:28:012:28:05

content of the video recordings that he'd made.

2:28:052:28:08

Mandy says she never knew about the sexual abuse of the woman

2:28:092:28:12

until the police told her.

2:28:122:28:14

They told me that Keith was sexually abusing her.

2:28:152:28:19

I said, "I don't know" because he would never do something

2:28:192:28:23

like that when I was around or when the kids were around.

2:28:232:28:26

And she says, "Do you know that Caroline was involved as well?"

2:28:262:28:30

And I said, "No, I didn't know that."

2:28:302:28:32

The video tapes also showed the woman's physical health

2:28:332:28:36

deteriorating during the years of the recordings.

2:28:362:28:39

She had just one tooth and was emaciated when police

2:28:412:28:44

found her, weighing just six stone.

2:28:442:28:46

Interviewing the woman required much planning by the police

2:29:412:29:44

with the support of a psychologist.

2:29:442:29:47

We used a method of picture cards with her.

2:29:472:29:51

She was given, you know, a limited number of options,

2:29:512:29:54

so it was easy for her to pick.

2:29:542:29:57

A psychologist, who assessed her, described her as, you know,

2:29:572:30:01

very easily manipulated, very easily controlled.

2:30:012:30:04

So we had to be mindful of not leading her in any way.

2:30:042:30:07

The woman's evidence, together with the videos

2:30:082:30:11

and photographs, changed the course of the prosecution case.

2:30:112:30:15

After years of denial, Keith and Caroline Baker finally

2:30:152:30:19

changed their pleas to guilty.

2:30:192:30:21

Why would they do that if they were innocent?

2:30:262:30:28

They weren't really given a choice.

2:30:282:30:30

Like, they told my mum if she changed, if she turned

2:30:302:30:34

round and changed all of her statements and said

2:30:342:30:36

that it was all my dad, they wouldn't bring

2:30:362:30:38

anything against her.

2:30:382:30:40

That's a claim the police deny.

2:30:402:30:42

At any point in this process, did the Bakers show any remorse

2:30:442:30:48

for their actions or any understanding of the

2:30:482:30:51

victim's mental capacity?

2:30:512:30:53

No, they have not accepted the extent of her disability

2:30:542:30:59

and in fact, both would say that she in fact initiated the

2:30:592:31:03

contact on each of the occasions.

2:31:032:31:05

Social services and the police are adamant that nothing could have

2:31:082:31:12

been done to prevent the imprisonment and

2:31:122:31:14

abuse of the woman.

2:31:142:31:15

Mandy says she was paralysed by fear and could not have raised

2:31:182:31:22

the alarm any earlier.

2:31:222:31:24

You could have told the police about her.

2:31:272:31:29

I could have, but if I had of, I'd have got hit for it,

2:31:292:31:32

I'd have got a hiding for it. I wasn't there to...

2:31:322:31:35

Nobody was allowed to know that she was there,

2:31:352:31:38

and if anybody had of told them, then he would have given us a hiding

2:31:382:31:43

for it, any of us, right.

2:31:432:31:45

So we just had to keep our mouths quiet.

2:31:462:31:50

For Mandy, telling the police about the woman locked in the house

2:31:512:31:55

has cost her dearly.

2:31:552:31:57

I regret doing it now, because I have lost my kids

2:31:592:32:03

and they are not talking to me.

2:32:032:32:05

I didn't... I don't regret telling the police on him.

2:32:062:32:13

I just regret walking out the house and leaving my kids behind.

2:32:132:32:17

That's the only thing I regret.

2:32:182:32:20

The life of the woman that the police rescued

2:32:242:32:26

has been transformed.

2:32:262:32:28

When she was removed to a different location,

2:32:292:32:33

she was delighted to have food, she was delighted to

2:32:332:32:36

have a comfortable room.

2:32:362:32:38

It's the little simple things that made such a big deal for her.

2:32:402:32:45

Five years on, she is recovering from her trauma.

2:32:462:32:50

She's now doing well and is moving on and has got

2:32:532:32:58

closure with her life.

2:32:582:32:59

Last month, Keith Baker was sentenced to 15 years,

2:32:592:33:03

his wife Caroline to three.

2:33:032:33:06

He'll be out in two having served seven-and-a-half years behind bars,

2:33:062:33:10

less time than he kept his victim captive as his sex slave.

2:33:102:33:14

Chris Moore tells the inside story of a Craigavon sex abuse case, where a husband and wife were jailed for assaulting a vulnerable woman who was kept captive in their home for eight years. With extracts of police interview recordings.


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