Suffolk

Police to probe how missing woman ended up as 'sex slave'

room Image copyright PSNI
Image caption The woman was kept in a squalid room which had no light bulb and no handle on the door

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner has said he is determined to "get to the bottom" of how a missing woman from the county ended up as a "sex slave".

The disabled woman was kept in a house in Northern Ireland for eight years.

She was reported missing, but when she apparently called Suffolk Police to say she was fine, they stopped searching.

PCC Tim Passmore said "lessons must be learned" and he would discuss with the chief constable why further inquiries were not carried out at the time.

Husband and wife Keith and Caroline Baker were jailed on Tuesday after admitting a catalogue of charges against their victim.

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When police rescued her from their house in Craigavon, County Armagh, in 2012 she was emaciated, had only a single tooth left in her mouth and had been subjected to horrific sexual assaults.

The woman, who has severe learning difficulties, had been taken from her home in Suffolk by the couple in 2004.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Keith Baker raped the woman repeatedly in his home and filmed his assaults

She was reported missing by her husband on 15 March, but the following day police took a call from a woman who told them she was not missing, but was on holiday with a friend.

She used the missing woman's phone and there was "no indication at the time to suggest that she was anyone but the named individual", a force spokesman said.

The inquiry was "concluded",

Mr Passmore said it seemed "very strange... that the husband of this poor woman seemed to just accept that she was on holiday and that wasn't followed up either.

"There are some very odd circumstances here."

He said he intends to discuss the investigation with Suffolk's chief constable, adding: "We owe it to the victim, her friends and relations to get to the bottom of this and we must learn the lessons of what went wrong across many agencies."

In a statement released after Tuesday's sentencing, Suffolk Police said: "In view of this case, we are looking into whether there was anything further that could or should have been done at the time she was reported as missing."

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