Forced labour group convicted
A Hemel man was among four people convicted of a variety of fraud and forced labour charges at Oxford Crown Court last week.
Ifran Iqbal, 29, of Millfield Walk, Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud.
The charges relate to one victim, a 27-year-old man, and the offences took place in Oxford and Hemel Hempstead over a 22-month period between January 2012 and November 2013.
Iqbal was in the dock with Paul Joyce, 33, of Old Abingdon Road, Oxford, who pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud, one count of common assault and two counts of substantive forced labour.
Also in the dock were Helen Cash, 30, of Old Abingdon Road, Oxford, who pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and one count of substantive forced labour, and Michael Joyce, 25, of Red Bridge Hollow in Old Abingdon Road, Oxford, who pleaded guilty to one count of substantive forced labour.
The victim was prevented from leaving the place he was being made to work for approximately two years.
He was made to work without receiving pay and forced to commit crime through being threatened and intimidated.
During this time, Paul Joyce and Cash falsely used the victim’s bank account details and bank cards, and Paul Joyce, Cash and Iqbal dishonestly made false representations that the victim was entitled to claim housing benefit in Hemel Hempstead.
Paul Joyce and Cash also falsely claimed the victim’s Employment Support Allowance.
Between the same dates, Paul Joyce, Michael Joyce and Cash required the victim to perform forced or compulsory labour.
When the victim attempted to leave in November 2012, he was assaulted by Paul Joyce, causing bruising to his head and body.
The victim was reported missing in November 2013 and was located in Redbourn, Hertfordshire..
The four defendants were arrested in March last year and were charged in December 2014.
They will be sentenced on June 8 at Oxford Crown Court.