Northern Ireland

Keith and Caroline Baker to be sentenced for 'sex slave' crimes

Keith Baker's address was given as Maghaberry Prison Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Keith Baker raped the woman repeatedly and filmed his assaults

A married couple who pleaded guilty to a catalogue of horrific sexual assaults on a woman they kept as a virtual prisoner are to be sentenced in April.

Keith, 61, and Caroline Baker, 54, kept their victim, who had severe learning difficulties, in a squalid room without carpet, a light bulb, bedclothes or curtains, for eight years.

The door handle had been removed from the door.

There was a cctv camera suspended from the ceiling.

When the police rescued her from the Bakers' Craigavon home in County Armagh, just before Christmas 2012, she was emaciated and had only a single tooth left in her mouth.

The only toilet she had access to was overflowing with human waste.

'Emaciated'

The woman, who has a severe learning difficulty, appeared very confused. When she was asked how long she had been in the room, she spoke in a child-like voice, saying she did not know if it had been six or two years.

She was first brought to Northern Ireland by Baker in 2004.

He gave his address as Maghaberry Prison, Armagh.

At Craigavon Crown Court on Friday, prosecuting barrister Tony Hedworth QC said Keith Baker's life had been "totally dominated" by his sexual needs and desires.

Both Baker, who was in a wheelchair, and his wife, kept their heads bowed throughout the hearing as Mr Hedworth outlined disturbing graphic details of what police found on videos shot by Baker.

In them, both he and his wife can be seen assaulting and raping the woman. The videos are shot over a number of years and their victim goes from well-nourished to emaciated.

When specialist officers examined Baker's computer they found hundreds of indecent images of the woman.

When they questioned the couple's then next door neighbour, she said she had never seen the woman despite having been a regular visitor to the house over an eight-year period.

'Grossly unconventional'

The victim had never been registered with a doctor or dentist and no benefits had ever been claimed in her name.

In 2004, her husband, who also had severe learning difficulties, had reported her missing to a police force in England.

However, police did not have any knowledge of, or contact with, the woman until 19 December 2012, when the alarm was raised by a woman referred to in court only as Miss X.

She lived with Baker, effectively as a second wife, and was the mother of four of his eight children. Caroline Baker was the mother of the other four.

It was, a lawyer told the court, "a grossly unconventional household".

In the end, it was Miss X who raised the alarm, bringing to an end the victim's eight years of suffering and beginning a legal process that will end when the couple are sentenced on Tuesday 4 April.

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