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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This has been described as the house of horrors.
It's the place where a vulnerable, defenceless woman with
serious learning difficulties was held prisoner by a sexual predator.
He brought her to a house he ruled by fear,
and where he had created the perfect hiding place for his victim...
..until she eventually was rescued by the police.
They were talking to the woman and they said, "Do you want to leave?"
And she says, "No, because I'm scared."
And I turned around and said to her, "Don't be scared, just go.
"Get out of here, don't look back, just go."
Physically, she was very thin, she was quite dirty,
she didn't look particularly well.
It was clear something had gone wrong.
Held captive for years, the woman was subjected to humiliating
and degrading treatment in the squalor of an upstairs bedroom,
sometimes with just sweets to eat.
She was a middle-aged, married woman, but the reality was
she was childlike, with the mental age of a five or six-year-old.
She didn't have the ability to communicate with others, to
explain what was happening and try to be rescued from her predicament.
The home, seen here on the right,
was isolated on the edge of Craigavon.
We've been inside the building, now under new ownership.
This is the bedroom... It's small, ten foot by six.
..where the woman was kept prisoner by her tormentors,
Keith Baker and his wife, Caroline.
She had no heating, no clean bedding. And up in the ceiling,
the Bakers had fixed a camera so that they could film and record
themselves raping and repeatedly sexually abusing the woman.
The recordings are graphic,
they are obviously recorded over a significant period of time.
Very few people could watch it and not be affected by it.
I certainly was affected by it.
We have obtained some police recordings of the interviews
with Keith Baker.
During questioning, he said the woman,
who can't be named for legal reasons, was a guest who was
there of her own free will and capable of giving consent.
This is Keith Baker.
This is Caroline, his wife.
They had four children together.
And this is Mandy Highfield, his mistress for 23 years.
She too had four children with Keith.
Extraordinarily, all 11 of them lived together in adjoining houses.
The same houses where the vulnerable woman was kept locked upstairs.
She was there for a month and then I said to him,
"Is she going back?" And he said, "No, not yet."
And he kept telling us that she wasn't going back.
In fact, she was locked in the home for eight years,
until Mandy told the police about the woman she'd often tried to help.
I'd bring her down and give her a cup of tea and something to eat.
As soon as I heard him, I'd put her back upstairs.
-And did she talk to you, did she say...?
-Yeah, she talked to me.
She would just say, "I like your kids, I like you."
"I'm scared of Keith," she says.
Keith Baker was a violent and abusive man who targeted
For decades, he avoided prosecution by using his physical
strength to control those he abused.
Despite the fact that Baker and his wife, Caroline, are now in prison,
his abilities to manipulate those around him means that even
today, members of his family continue to believe in him.
Two of Keith Baker's sons agreed to speak to us.
Malcolm is Caroline's son, Gareth is Mandy's son.
You believe Keith and Caroline are entirely innocent?
Yes, definitely, 100%. One million percent.
Far from being innocent,
Spotlight can show that Keith Baker spent decades controlling his
family and avoiding prosecution for persistent domestic violence.
Violence ended Keith Baker's first marriage in the '70s before
he met and married his present wife, Caroline,
in Belfast in the early '80s.
Right from the start, Keith Baker was violent to Caroline.
Spotlight has established that social services went to the
High Court to make one of the Baker children a ward of court,
and appoint a social worker to look after the child's interests.
This limited Baker's access to the child.
The social worker would actually be appointed by the master in
the High Court, and their job, really,
is to look after the welfare of the child who is the ward of court.
And look out for their best interests.
But after three years of the order, Keith and Caroline fled
Northern Ireland, in breach of the court order.
Years later, Baker boasted about this to Mandy.
Yeah, he told me he had to do a runner, and I said, "Why is that?"
And he says, "Because BLEEP is under a ward of court and we had to
-"get out of there."
-Out of where?
-Out of Ireland, Northern Ireland.
We were working with the family and they had left without any
notification to social services.
They were in breach of the ward of court,
so we had a responsibility to get a message out into the system,
and we do what's called a missing persons alert.
That would have went out regionally within Northern Ireland,
but also nationally across the other social services.
It wasn't long before the alert brought
a response from social services in Guernsey.
The Baker family had turned up on the island,
where the Northern Ireland court order would not apply,
so the court order was revoked.
This is Guernsey in the English Channel,
closer to France, which, on a clear day, you can see just over there,
than it is to Britain.
And yet, even though it's a British Crown dependency,
it's independent, it has its own government,
its own laws and even its own chief minister.
Now free of the court order, the Bakers began setting up home in
Guernsey, where Keith Baker was born in 1956, one of a family of seven.
He grew up in this street, and attended Amherst Primary School.
This is him in the school photograph around 1967.
David Baker is Keith's older brother.
They both witnessed the violence inflicted on their mother by
their father. Keith, too, had a violent temper.
A lot of people would tell you Keith was quite a violent person,
even in his younger days, late teens would be.
-Would you say he had a temper?
In 1989, despite being married to Caroline, Baker met
Mandy Highfield in what was Taylors Bar, here in Guernsey.
At first, he charmed her.
Keith had quite a reputation, he was a ladies' man.
You know, he had various ladies wherever he went.
I was in a bar and he was working and
he was walking past on his break and...we started chatting.
He seemed to be a really nice, genuine guy, like.
Mandy was a vulnerable woman who'd had a difficult childhood.
She longed for some stability in her life.
He was a nice guy and I looked at him as a dad figure in a way,
because he wanted to look after me,
he wanted to protect me and all this. And I liked that.
Mandy had fallen in love.
Keith Baker then told her he was a single parent.
He just said that he had three children.
Then this woman came out and I said, "Who's that?"
And he said, "That's my live-in nanny." And I went, "Right."
And I go, "So where's their mum?" He says, "Oh, she's not here with us any more."
The woman Mandy met was Caroline, Keith's wife,
not his live-in nanny.
Mandy didn't have a clue about Keith Baker's secret life
as a wife-beating manipulator.
He was quite a bully. You know, had no...
I've got to be honest and say he had no respect for Caroline whatsoever.
Caroline was in hospital quite a lot. Keith used to...
beat her something wicked. You know, the bruises she had all over.
Keith's always been that way to Caroline.
For a time, Keith, Caroline and Mandy all moved into this
council house, and the domestic abuse started against Mandy.
He told me I wasn't allowed to talk to my family,
I wasn't allowed to talk to people, I wasn't allowed to have friends.
I wasn't allowed to go out without him knowing.
What would happen if you did any of those things,
-if you spoke to your family?
-He would hit me for it.
When I got home, he would hit me.
Guernsey police confirmed that Keith Baker was often in trouble
with them, but declined to give details.
What happened with the Baker family here in Guernsey provided
evidence of a disturbing pattern of interventions by social services.
Keith Baker's sons remember that they had occasionally been
taken into care.
Social services followed the family when we went to Guernsey and
then sort of... Things... They were constantly trying to take us away.
They kept asking us questions and everything all the time.
Baker's total control was such that his sons supported him
and wanted to be with him.
They often referred to Mandy and Caroline simply as the two mums.
If my dad was on his own in the house and the mums had
walked out, social services would come and sort of take them off,
because they used to turn around and say, sort of like,
they didn't trust the dad with two daughters.
For a decade, Baker had beaten Caroline and Mandy with the
impunity that came from their fear of pressing charges against him.
However, when he was caught doing the double,
claiming state benefits while working as a lorry driver,
Baker decided it was time to move on again.
The family took the ferry to Northern Ireland and found
a place to live in Craigavon at the end of 1999.
It took these two houses,
numbers three and four Drumellan Mews,
to accommodate the Baker family when they arrived.
I thought it was a nice place, nice, quiet place,
where everybody would be able to get settled.
The school was only around the corner, really.
But just as their new life began in Craigavon, the beatings resumed.
Social services in Guernsey passed on their files about the
domestic violence to Craigavon social services.
Within months, there was a violent incident.
It was February 2000, when one of the ladies did end up...
In fact, she made a statement,
and both ourselves and the PSNI were involved in that.
And she did go to the women's refuge with her children.
I remember... It was because me and Keith had an argument and
he hit me and I just walked out the house and I took the kids with me.
But Mandy's son, Gareth, was unhappy that his mother had taken him
away from his father.
All I knew was I got taken out of Drumgor Primary School
and I didn't get to see my family for a while.
All I could do was just cry my eyes out, cry for Dad, sort of thing.
Keith harassed and intimidated Mandy into returning home.
And under pressure, she withdrew her statement to the police.
Once again, Keith Baker had escaped the courts,
and the beatings continued.
He'd hit me in the face, sometimes he'd give me a black eye,
sometimes he'd punch me on the arm, kept calling me a retard and
spastic and nobody would like me, every...
Nobody would like me,
"You're nothing but an ugly...bitch" and all this.
And he knocked my confidence and my self-esteem,
so I started believing everything he was saying.
Did social services become involved at any stage, to your
recollection, when you lived in Drumellan Mews?
One of the times whenever our mums walked out,
the only time we were allowed to see each other was if we were in
the supervised room, and then we had to have the social worker sat with us.
Keith knew how to heap humiliation on the two mums,
bringing other women to the house, forcing Mandy and Caroline to hide.
We had to sit upstairs.
He would say to the kids, "Well, when we go out,
"you tell your mums to come down."
But sometimes they wouldn't go out,
so we'd have to sit upstairs all day and all night.
And the kids would have to bring us up something to eat and
a cup of coffee or something.
Social services say that in 2004,
contact with the Baker family stopped abruptly,
with no further reports of violence.
Incredibly, Keith Baker had a new plan.
To bring a third woman to live in the house.
He called Mandy to tell her.
He phoned me and Caroline.
He said, "Can you get a bedroom sorted?" And we went, "Right."
But we only had the spare room and there was no carpet,
nothing in there. Just a bed.
And he said, "Just put some clean duvet covers and sheets on the bed."
Malcolm says his dad had told them he was rescuing this woman
from an abusive husband.
He'd picked a woman up in England when coming back from a trip.
We were coming back from sort of one of the holidays and then BLEEP
just got into the car and came back with us.
Once she went into the Baker house in Craigavon,
seen here on the right, the woman disappeared.
In the eyes of the world, she ceased to exist.
Keith Baker was clever enough to conceal all trace of the woman.
He made sure that she wasn't claiming benefits,
that she wasn't registered with a doctor or a nurse,
and he knew that no-one in the house could help her escape because
he controlled all the bank cards and the money.
Keith Baker had created the perfect hiding place for the perfect
When she first come over, she was treated really well,
she was downstairs with us, watching TV with us,
eating with us, playing with the kids.
She would play Barbies
with my daughter and things like that.
I used to sit there and try and teach her to how to play Viva Pinata
and stuff like that on the X-Box, and stuff like that, and like,
play Monopoly and everything.
She had the mind of about a nine-year-old child,
so I looked at her as one of my own kids, really.
Baker tried to paint a picture of a happy woman,
rather than a prisoner, when he was being
interviewed by the police.
Baker was a very clever, manipulative man who picked
a very vulnerable woman, who brought her into
Northern Ireland, who kept her within his home
for his own and his wife's very cruel pleasure.
Keith Baker and his sons lived in Number 4.
Caroline and Mandy and the daughters lived in Number 3.
The woman was given the small bedroom at the top of the stairs,
right next to the daughters.
Things started to go wrong when the secret guest began
going into the other rooms.
She had a sweet tooth and she often took chocolates
from the children's bedrooms.
This small event changed the woman's life.
One of the kids told Keith and Keith stuck her in a cold shower
and made everybody watch him do it.
We tried stopping him and he'd just push us out the way
and said, "It's my house, I'll do what I want."
But when she continued to take sweets, a more drastic measure
was introduced to discourage her.
She's carried on taking the sweets again and so Keith says,
"Right, this is it", and he took the door
handle off of her door and left her sitting in the room.
So when the handle was removed from inside the bedroom she had,
you realise that effectively made her a prisoner?
That's what I said to him, I said, "You're locking her up
"like an animal, she's a prisoner in that room."
He says, "No, because we'll let her out", and he was all
big-headed about it and happy that he was doing it all.
In a house with three adults and eight children,
how could this woman's imprisonment go unnoticed?
Some of the Baker children even claim the woman was free to come
and go from her small room.
-was allowed anywhere inside the house she wanted.
She would keep to herself most of the time.
But she was allowed anywhere she wanted and the only one that
ever stopped her from doing stuff like that was Mandy.
But that's not Mandy's recollection.
If she wanted to go to the toilet, she'd knock on the door and I'd say,
"What do you want, love?"
And she'd say, "Can I go to the toilet?"
And I'd say, "Yeah, go on then."
But sometimes the woman's knocking on the door and he'd say,
"Just leave her".
And I had to do what he said otherwise
I'd have got a hiding.
The woman endured this degrading treatment and sexual abuse
at the hands of Keith and Caroline Baker for many years.
Until 2012, one morning just before Christmas,
when Keith Baker was out of the country.
Mandy decided to bring the woman's suffering to an end.
Em, I just had enough of all the abuse I was getting
and she was getting it as well and I said, "I can't
"cope with this anymore.
"I'm not staying here and I am going to go and tell the police."
Mandy was there when the police and social services rescued the woman.
She says to me, "I love you" and "I love you too, my love",
and she walked out with the police and the social worker.
Detective Chief Inspector Claire McKernan has a clear memory
of meeting the woman for the first time.
I can remember her just standing there looking, you know,
innocent, looking lost, and when I spoke to her,
she just smiled at me.
The police went back to Keith Baker's house
after Christmas, when he'd returned from England.
This time, they came with a search warrant.
The police turned up and it wasn't just one or two policemen,
it was loads of them come from nowhere, and they just
knocked on the door.
I opened the door and I said, "Hello."
I was sleeping on the settee
in the living room in Number 3 and the police just came
in and woke me up and they got all of the family together,
like in Number 4, and while we were all together that's when they went
round the rest of the house and collected all of the laptops
and computers, loads of DVDs and stuff like that.
They searched everywhere in the house and took everything
that belonged to Keith out.
Like, everything electrical they took out, that he was using.
In Keith's bedroom, the police came across the evidence that
would convict him and his wife, Caroline.
In a locked briefcase they found hundreds of photographs and hours
of home video recordings of Keith and Caroline sexually
abusing the woman.
They'd filmed it themselves.
It was prosecution gold dust.
We have a series of photographs, we also have recorded evidence,
some of which has voice over.
That really was compelling evidence in this case.
I can remember the evening we viewed it and just
being shocked at what we'd found. Very disturbing.
Very disturbing for the victim, obviously, and that's...
I think that's the hardest part of it, you know,
watching her suffer that.
Were you surprised that you found it there because, in truth,
he could have got rid of that evidence, couldn't he?
I don't know. I don't know why he didn't.
When you're in the middle of it and investigating it and you now
have all the information, you get a very strong sense
of control, you know.
So Keith Baker controlled everything around him and, you know,
I wouldn't have put it past him for him to feel that he could
control police also.
But Keith Baker could not control the police or explain the shocking
content of the video recordings that he'd made.
Mandy says she never knew about the sexual abuse of the woman
until the police told her.
They told me that Keith was sexually abusing her.
I said, "I don't know" because he would never do something
like that when I was around or when the kids were around.
And she says, "Do you know that Caroline was involved as well?"
And I said, "No, I didn't know that."
The video tapes also showed the woman's physical health
deteriorating during the years of the recordings.
She had just one tooth and was emaciated when police
found her, weighing just six stone.
Interviewing the woman required much planning by the police
with the support of a psychologist.
We used a method of picture cards with her.
She was given, you know, a limited number of options,
so it was easy for her to pick.
A psychologist, who assessed her, described her as, you know,
very easily manipulated, very easily controlled.
So we had to be mindful of not leading her in any way.
The woman's evidence, together with the videos
and photographs, changed the course of the prosecution case.
After years of denial, Keith and Caroline Baker finally
changed their pleas to guilty.
Why would they do that if they were innocent?
They weren't really given a choice.
Like, they told my mum if she changed, if she turned
round and changed all of her statements and said
that it was all my dad, they wouldn't bring
anything against her.
That's a claim the police deny.
At any point in this process, did the Bakers show any remorse
for their actions or any understanding of the
victim's mental capacity?
No, they have not accepted the extent of her disability
and in fact, both would say that she in fact initiated the
contact on each of the occasions.
Social services and the police are adamant that nothing could have
been done to prevent the imprisonment and
abuse of the woman.
Mandy says she was paralysed by fear and could not have raised
the alarm any earlier.
You could have told the police about her.
I could have, but if I had of, I'd have got hit for it,
I'd have got a hiding for it. I wasn't there to...
Nobody was allowed to know that she was there,
and if anybody had of told them, then he would have given us a hiding
for it, any of us, right.
So we just had to keep our mouths quiet.
For Mandy, telling the police about the woman locked in the house
has cost her dearly.
I regret doing it now, because I have lost my kids
and they are not talking to me.
I didn't... I don't regret telling the police on him.
I just regret walking out the house and leaving my kids behind.
That's the only thing I regret.
The life of the woman that the police rescued
has been transformed.
When she was removed to a different location,
she was delighted to have food, she was delighted to
have a comfortable room.
It's the little simple things that made such a big deal for her.
Five years on, she is recovering from her trauma.
She's now doing well and is moving on and has got
closure with her life.
Last month, Keith Baker was sentenced to 15 years,
his wife Caroline to three.
He'll be out in two having served seven-and-a-half years behind bars,
less time than he kept his victim captive as his sex slave.
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.