Kinsley man was part of slavery gang jailed for 79 years

editorial image

A Kinsley man, who was part of a millionaire traveller family convicted of being Britain's biggest slavery gang, has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

John Rooney, 53, of Chantry Croft, Kinsley was convicted of two counts of conspiring to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour last month.

And he was jailed for five years and ten months at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday.

The Rooney clan kept 18 homeless men as slaves for up to 26 years, forcing them to live in squalid caravans and work for little or no money.

The cruel family made more than £1.5 million and splashed out on a lavish lifestyle - including homes, holidays and flash cars.

They also spent the cash on other luxury items such as gym memberships, boob jobs and a soccer school at Manchester United.

Last month the traveller family were convicted of a string of modern slavery offences following one of the largest ever investigations of its kind in Britain.

On Tuesday (September 12), ten men and one woman were jailed for a total of 79 years and seven months at Nottingham Crown Court.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Spencer QC told the family their offences had been "chilling in their mercilessness."

He said: "Your victims had reached a position where they were cowed into submission.

"Any resistance they knew was futile - it would have been met by you recruiting other family members and delivering more violence.

"You knew they would offer no resistance at all - nor did they.

"These offences are chilling in their mercilessness."

The court heard the family would beat their victims and make them fear for their lives, sleeping in caravans with carpets, beds and duvets "soaked with urine and faeces".

One man was left a "devastated, shattered and broken man" while others said they lived a 'dog's life' and were forced to "clear up the blood" from their beatings.

The victims - aged between 18 and 63 - were forced to work, tarmacking and paving drives at their gypsy sites in Drinsey Nook and Washingborough, in Lincolnshire.

The judge said: "You preyed on men who, for a variety of reasons, had fallen on hard times - men who had become homeless, alcoholic, men with mental health problems.

"Men who for a variety of reasons, and to varying degrees, were vulnerable and easy to manipulate."

Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, Head of Crime for Lincolnshire Police, said after the case: "The severity of these crimes is underlined by the sentences imposed by the judge.

"The victims will never get the years back that were taken away from them but I hope this provides them with some comfort that justice has been served and demonstrates that we will do everything in our power to try and stop others suffering in the ways that they did."

FULL LIST OF CONVICTIONS:

John Rooney, 31, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Conspiracy to defraud, Fraud by false representation, Theft (two counts). Sentenced to 15-and-a-half years.

Patrick Rooney, 31, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Fraud by abuse of position, Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, Theft (two counts). Sentenced to 15 years and nine months.

Bridget Rooney, 55, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour. Sentenced to seven years.

Martin Rooney, 35, of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield - Conspiracy to defraud, Converting criminal property (two counts). Sentenced to two years, suspended for two years.

Martin Rooney, 57, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Unlawful wounding. Sentenced to ten years and nine months.

Martin Rooney, 23, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, Assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Sentenced to six years and nine months.

Patrick Rooney, 54, of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield - Converting criminal property. Sentenced to twelve months, suspended for two years.

John Rooney, 53, of Chantry Croft, Pontefract - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour (two counts). Sentenced to five years and ten months.

Peter Doran, 36, of Washingborough Road, Lincoln - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour. Sentenced to six years.

Gerard Rooney, 46, of Washingborough Road, Lincoln - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour. Sentenced to six years.

Lawrence Rooney, 47, currently in prison - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour. Sentenced to six years.