Peter Swailes was initially charged with modern day slavery along with his 80-year-old father, also named Peter Swailes, but his father died before the trial began.
A son, who together with his father forced a man to live his entire adult life as his slave in a dirty little shed, was saved from jail.
Peter Swailes received an 18-month suspended sentence this morning.
Swailes was initially charged with his 80-year-old father, also named Peter Swailes, of modern-day slavery offences, but the older man died last year shortly before his trial.
Both men had denied the charges, including conspiring to organize or facilitate a person’s travel between 2015 and 2019 for the purpose of exploiting it.
But Peter Swales Jr then pleaded guilty to the crime at Carlisle Crown Court last month and was sentenced today.
The case was described as “heartbreaking” by a lead investigator, who said the victim would be “traumatised” for the rest of her life.
Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “First and foremost on my mind right now is the victim. Let us remember that he has been exploited throughout his adult life until just a few years ago.
“He is now in his early 60s. This is something that even now I have a hard time understanding.
“For four decades, in effect, he was kept as a slave.”
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE)
The crimes of the father and son were uncovered after a three-year investigation by the Gangmasters and Employment Abuse Authority (GLAA), with the support of Cumbria Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA), following that a man was found living in a 6-foot shed in a residential area north of Carlisle.
Investigators carried out a search warrant at Hadrian’s Caravan Park on October 3, 2018 and discovered the small green wooden shed next to the caravan.
They found there was no heat in the cramped shed, with a dirty duvet on the floor and a metered TV.
They knocked on the door and were greeted by the victim who appeared disheveled and agitated before telling officers that she had lived there for 40 years.
The victim then asked if he could wash up, indicating that he washed in a kitchen sink in a building next to his shed, GLLA said.
The Authority says the shed was in ‘poor’ condition with only one window that could not be closed completely. It was in complete darkness when the doors were closed.
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)
An old electric heater with damaged wiring was discarded in the corner of the shed and there were no other heaters inside, they said.
To the contrary, officers noted that another shed on site used for the family dog to sleep in was in much better shape, the GLLA says.
During an interview with investigators, the victim said he worked on farms.
He described painting, slate and asphalt and said he was paid as little as £10 a day.
As the investigation continued, officers suspected Swailes’s son of committing the same crimes.
Peter Swailes Senior was arrested in his static caravan on suspicion of offenses under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
At the time of his arrest, he was heard saying: “All this slavery again.”
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE)
Swailes Junior, of Cryndlbeck Stables, Low Harker, Carlisle, was arrested at the same site by the GLAA in April 2019 and did not comment during an interview with police.
Both men were subsequently charged with conspiracy to arrange a person’s journey for the purpose of exploitation, in contravention of Section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 2015. 1977.
However, Swailes Senior died in 2021, aged 81, shortly before his trial.
The victim was accepted into the government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) the day she was rescued and continues to receive specialist support.
He lives in subsidized accommodation outside Cumbria.
GLAA Senior Investigative Officer Martin Plimmer said: “This has been a truly harrowing investigation.
“In all my years in law enforcement, I have never known of a case of modern day slavery where exploitation has taken place over such a long period of time.
“It’s nice to see that Swailes finally did the right thing and pleaded guilty. I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and professionalism of my investigators in tackling what has been a very complex investigation, with many challenges along the way.”
He added: “Sadly, we are well aware of the fact that [the victim] he will be traumatized by his experience for the rest of his life.
“I am committed to ensuring that you continue to have the regular and consistent support you need, allowing you to lead as normal a life as possible under the circumstances.”