Several members of same traveller family jailed in modern slavery case

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Several members of the same traveller family have been jailed for running a modern-day slave camp in the heart of Britain.

Members of the Rooney family, aged between 23 and 57, were sentenced to a total of more than 50 years for their roles in a crime ring that exploited vulnerable men.

The Rooneys, from Drinsey Nook in Lincolnshire, led “lives of luxury” while they took advantage of their victims and condemned them to misery, investigators said.

The sentencing, in one of the biggest cases of its kind in Britain, came as the Evening Standard launched a major campaign to tackle modern slavery in the UK.

Ringleader Martin Rooney was jailed for 10 years and nine months.

Clockwise from left: Bridget Rooney, 55, Patrick Rooney, 54, Martin Rooney, 35, Peter Doran, 36, Patrick Rooney, 31 (Lincolnshire Police)

The 57-year-old was among 11 gang members convicted of involvement in offences which included the keeping of one man in “truly shocking” conditions for decades.

A total of 11 defendants were convicted of offences following a series of linked trials relating to modern slavery and fraud at Nottingham Crown Court.

Squalid: An example of the conditions the victims were forced to endure (Lincolnshire Police)

Rooney, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby, Lincolnshire, was jailed at the same court on Tuesday after being convicted of wounding and conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour.

Other members of the Rooney family were given custodial sentences ranging from 15 to six years, while two received suspended sentences.

Six people were initially arrested in September 2014 when seven warrants were executed in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and London as part of inquiries into allegations of modern slavery.

All the victims of the offences were described as extremely vulnerable, including several who had learning disabilities and mental health issues, and were estranged from their families.

Commenting after the sentences were handed down, Janine Smith from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “These members of the Rooney family lived lives of luxury at the expense of their victims, condemning them to live in fear, misery and squalor. For them, exploitation, violence and extortion were a way of life

Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, head of crime for Lincolnshire Police, said: “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.”

Here is a full list of defendants and their sentences:

  • John Rooney, 31, was jailed for 15 years six months for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, conspiracy to defraud, fraud and theft
  • Patrick Rooney, 31, was jailed for 15 years nine months for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, fraud by abuse of position, actual bodily harm and theft
  • Bridget Rooney, 55, was jailed for seven years for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Martin Rooney Sr, 57, was jailed for 10 years nine months for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and unlawful wounding
  • Martin Rooney, 23, was jailed for six years nine months for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and actual bodily harm
  • John Rooney, 53, was jailed for five years 10 months for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Peter Doran, 64, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Gerard Rooney, 46, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Lawrence Rooney, 47, was jailed for six years for conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • Martin Rooney, 35, was sentenced to two years suspended for two years for conspiracy to defraud and converting criminal property.
  • Patrick Rooney, 54, was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years for converting criminal property


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