No chance to leave 'slave camp' victim tells court

Jerry, William and John Connors

Jerry, William and John Connors

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

AN ALLEGED victim of a family of travellers who are accused of keeping vulnerable men in slave like conditions has told jurors he never had the opportunity to leave.

Victor Romain told Southampton Crown Court how during the time he was at the camp at Hamble Lane in June last year, it "never occurred to him" to leave as he had no money and no where else to go.

Brothers John and Jerry Connors and their brother in law William Connors face allegations that they forced vulnerable men who they had rounded up from the street to work 12 hours a day for little or no pay and subjected them to beatings and made them live in cramped and squalid conditions.

It was suggested by Craig Rush, defence counsel for John Connors, that Mr Romain had a number of opportunities to leave the camp, but did not take them.

Under cross examination he was asked why he didn't just leave, to which Mr Romain replied: "We had no money," and that "the opportunity never arose."

Mr Rush also suggested that he was exaggerating events. Mr Romain replied: "No. I am here to tell the truth and that is what I am doing."

John Connors, 30, from Stopley, Luton, Jerry Connors, 30, from Chertsey in Surrey and William Connors, 38, from Bulwell near Nottingham deny four counts of holding the men in slavery or servitude between April 6 2010, and June 24 2011.The trio also deny four alternative counts of requiring the men to perform forced labour between the same dates

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