Man jailed for four years over slavery offences

Johnny Moloney

Johnny Moloney

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A Hertfordshire man has been handed a four-year jail term for two modern-day slavery offences.

Johnny Moloney, also known as Johnny Murphy, 26, of Watford Road, St Albans, was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday (June 15) following an eight-day trial.

He had pleaded not guilty knowingly requiring another person to perform forced labour in St Albans between April 2010 and December 2014, and also to a count of knowingly holding a person in slavery or servitude.

Today he received sentences of three and four years for the two offences, which will run concurrently.

The court heard how Moloney’s victim, a 43-year-old man, had lost his job in London and was living on the streets before he was befriended by Moloney who offered him work.

He was then taken to Bedfordshire for a brief period, before being returned to Hertfordshire and forced to live in sheds and a camper van with no sanitation.

He was also physically and verbally abused and made to work more than 14 hours a day for little reward.

Moloney bought him a passport but he kept strong security around it, and during the summer the victim would be taken to Ireland, Europe, Manchester and Birmingham, being forced to lay paving slabs.

On one occasion the victim escaped but was traced by Moloney and threatened before being returned to a site in Leighton Buzzard where he was drugged and forced to work again.

Detective Inspector Pete Frost, who led the investigation, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank the victim who has spoken about his dreadful ordeal and who has helped us to bring this prosecution.

“He has shown strength and courage throughout this process. I hope the sentence passed today brings some comfort to him, knowing that the man who treated him in such an appalling manner have been sentenced for what they have done.

“To think that another human being was subjected to such cruelty and suffering and in such a degrading manner is abhorrent and almost defies belief, particularly considering this has happened in the twenty first century. Sadly, this is the reality of modern slavery – which is unfortunately happening to others somewhere else right now.

“We all have a duty of care to watch out for and report suspicious activity which may be modern slavery so that we can help and prevent further suffering. I would ask anyone who has any suspicions at all that someone could be being subjected to modern slavery to call police immediately or the Modern Slavery helpline on: 0800 0121 700.”