Northern Ireland

No sentence appeal in sex-slave couple case

The room in which the victim was kept Image copyright PSNI
Image caption The woman was kept in a room without a handle on the door so she could not escape

Sentences imposed on a couple who kept a disabled woman as a sex-slave will not be appealed for being unduly lenient, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has said.

Keith and Caroline Baker pleaded guilty to a raft of charges, including rape.

The couple subjected the woman, who had severe learning difficulties, to horrific sexual abuse while holding her as a virtual prisoner.

Police rescued her from the house in Craigavon, County Armagh, in 2012.

In April, Keith Baker was jailed for 15 years, with a further five years to be served on license.

His wife, Caroline Baker, was given the much lighter sentence of three years, 18 months of which was to be spent in jail with the remainder to be served on license.

The judge said this was because he considered her "a pawn" used by the "Svengali figure" of Keith Baker.

At the time, the PPS said it was going to look at the sentences to consider if they were "unduly lenient".

On Thursday, a PPS spokesperson said no legal basis had been found to refer them to the Court of Appeal.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police found videos of Caroline Baker (above) and her husband abusing the disabled woman
Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Keith Baker raped the woman repeatedly in his home and filmed his assaults

Keith and Caroline Baker kept their victim in a squalid room without carpet, a light bulb, bedclothes or curtains, for eight years.

The woman was emaciated and had only a single tooth left in her mouth when she was rescued from the house in Craigavon, County Armagh, in 2012.

She weighed just six stone (38kg) when she was found.

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

The couple had taken the woman from her home in England in 2004; she was reported missing by her husband.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Keith Baker was a 'Svengali-type figure' who controlled his wife, said the judge

She was found by police in Northern Ireland after another woman, Mandy Highfield, contacted officers.

Ms Highfield had also lived with Keith Baker and was the mother of four of his children.

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Media captionMandy Highfield describes what life was like inside the Craigavon house

When detectives searched the house they found videos of the Bakers abusing their victim.

The images showed how she had deteriorated from being relatively healthy to malnourished over the years she was held inside the house.

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