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Sheffield slavery victim is son of top cop

Nick Kinsella, human trafficking course

Nick Kinsella, human trafficking course

  • by Polly Rippon
 

The victim at the centre of the Sheffield slavery case is the adopted son of a former top South Yorkshire police officer – who set up the city’s Human Trafficking Centre, The Star can reveal.

Former Detective Chief Superintendent Nick Kinsella’s role involves drafting the Government’s anti-slavery policy.

Now retired from the police, he was highly respected for his work in combating human trafficking and slavery, and in October 2006 he was appointed head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield.

Mr Kinsella, who lives in Sheffield, adopted Craig when he was 12.

He was completely unaware Craig had fallen victim to David Rooke, 44, his wife Donna, 40, and their son Jamie, 19, who hit him with pick-axes, shovel handles and a crowbar, and made him work for 12 hours a day.

Mr Kinsella said: “This came out of the blue. We had no idea it was happening to Craig.

“I’ve never doubted this could happen to any family – I used to say that when I gave talks. It’s just ironic it has actually happened to us.

“And unfortunately it re-enforces the message I’ve spent years trying to get across.”

Mr Kinsella said the first he knew about it was when he got a telephone call.

He said: “I got a phone call when I was on the M1 to say Craig had been assaulted.

“We went straight to the hospital and were shocked by what we saw.

“He looked dirty, he looked hungry. I think he had just eaten three dinners straight in a row.”

Craig, now 34, was forced to work as a slave and ‘treated as a punchbag’ by the Rookes at their home in Parson Cross.

The horrific case, heard at Sheffield Crown Court, caused outrage after it emerged the Rookes, who ran an ice cream business, treated Craig Kinsella ‘like a dog’.

They forced him to work 15 hours a day, dished out daily beatings, starved him, and deprived him of basic toilet and washing facilities.

Shocking CCTV footage, filmed by their own cameras, showed all three members of the family abusing the 34-year-old at their home on Halifax Road.

Sheffield Crown Court was told Craig, who has learning difficulties, was adopted when he was 12 after an ‘abusive’ childhood.

David Brooke, prosecuting, said his adoptive parents realised he had difficulties and, when he was about 14, he was found to have a low IQ.

Mr Brooke said Craig was still in contact with his adoptive family, and saw them about once a year at Christmas.

He also said Craig had been married, and he and his partner had two children, but the relationship broke down.

Mr Kinsella said: “You can give your children advice and guide them, but you can’t be with them 24 hours a day.

“Craig was a grown man who had jobs, had been married, had children and lived independently.

“We are so sad this happened to Craig. It’s sad that it happens to anyone. There’s not enough being done on this issue.”

The UK Human Trafficking centre was set up in Sheffield by the Home Office because of South Yorkshire Police’s success at investigating human trafficking offences in the city.

The base acted as a central point for police and other agencies trying to combat the problem and help victims.

Mr Kinsella was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal in the 2009 New Year’s honours list for services to policing.

In 2010 the UK Human Trafficking centre was taken over by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which earlier this year became The National Crime Agency.

■Members of the public quizzed Sheffield Council bosses over its safeguarding policy at a full meeting of the council on Wednesday.

Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for health, care and independent living, said: “This was a tragic case involving a very vulnerable person and I’m thankful it was over a short period – though obviously six weeks is far too long.

“We did not know about this gentleman before the case was brought to our attention by the police. 
“We became involved and a safeguarding referral was made.

“The gentleman has been supported and been given help with his psychological wellbeing. The council will continue to offer him support.

“Hopefully this will help bring other cases to light.”

 

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