VIDEO: Battered Sheffield man’s slave ordeal CCTV footage

Have your say

WARNING: This video contains footage some viewers may find disturbing.

These shocking CCTV images show a vulnerable man with learning difficulties being beaten up by a Sheffield family who treated him as their slave.

David Rooke, aged 44, his wife Donna, 40, and their son Jamie, 19, forced the man - 34-year-old Craig Kinsella - to work 15 hours a day and live in their garage on Halifax Road, Parson Cross, Sheffield.

Donna Rooke at Sheffield Crown Court

Donna Rooke at Sheffield Crown Court

They used him as a ‘punchbag’ so he would not escape, and attacked him with a spade handle, crowbar and pickaxe handle.

They starved him, forced him to sleep on a concrete floor, and made him use a bucket as a toilet. He was so hungry he scavenged for food from a wheelie bin.

They took away his benefits, telling him it was to pay for his food, and made him work from 7.30am until midnight, cleaning the family’s ice cream business vans.

But today the Rookes are behind bars after they were jailed by Judge Peter Kelson QC at Sheffield Crown Court.

The judge told them: “Man’s inhumanity to man never ceases to shock.

“It is staggering that this is happening in our society, absolutely staggering. It’s almost unbelievable. But we are now seeing prosecutions in this country for slavery, and beginning to wake up to the fact.”

Judge Kelson told the Rookes they had completely broken Mr Kinsella’s will and he’d been too afraid to leave.

“He was treated horribly badly,” he said. “He was treated like a dog.

“Craig Kinsella was having to live in your garage, he was having to defecate into a bucket, he wasn’t allowed in your house, he was fed very little food, he was kept hungry, he was consistently beaten and battered - and, when one sees the CCTV, one has the awful feeling he was just your punchbag.

“For two months he simply had no will to leave. He was under your control.”

David Brooke, prosecuting, said police were alerted after a neighbour raised the alarm.

An emaciated Mr Kinsella, who has mild learning difficulties and a low IQ, was taken to hospital after he was found covered in bruises and suffering a broken arm and rib.

Mr Brooke said the victim’s life was controlled completely by the Rookes who used ‘casual violence and intimidation’ to prevent him leaving.

Mr Brooke said Mr Kinsella had worked for the family for five to six years.

To begin with it was paid employment cleaning ice-cream vans but then the payments stopped.

Mr Kinsella was asked to sleep in the family’s garage on Halifax Road one night and keep watch because they were worried about being burgled.

But they refused to let him go, keeping him against his will and subjecting him to daily beatings which were caught on their own CCTV system.

The offences took place at the family’s home during a six-week period between May and July last year, during which time the violence escalated.

David Rooke was jailed for six-and-a-half years after he admitted false imprisonment and five counts of causing actual bodily harm. He was also ordered to pay Mr Kinsella £15,000 in compensation.

Jamie Rooke admitted affray and four counts of causing actual bodily harm and was jailed for four years.

Donna Rooke admitted a specimen count of battery and was jailed for four months.

Det Insp Vicky Short, who led the investigation, said: “The physical and mental abuse meted out by the family on a highly vulnerable man plumbed the depths of depravity.

“David, Donna and Jamie Rooke abused Mr Kinsella for their own pleasure, until his spirit and will to stand up for himself and fight back was crushed.

“It is hard to understand how any human being could treat an individual in such a grotesque, callous and inhuman manner.

“I am confident that, if we had not received that phone call that day last July, we would have been investigating a murder.”