Scotland

Men to stand trial over slavery claim

Two men are to stand trial over claims they kept three men as slaves in North Lanarkshire.

Robert McPhee, 65, and John Miller, 37, are accused of forcing their victims to live in squalid conditions and of making them work for little or no money at a piggery in Shotts.

The men denied the allegations, dating from 1993 until 2016, during a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow.

Judge Lady Rae set a trial due to begin in January 2018.

Mr McPhee and Mr Miller will stand trial along with two other men - James McPhee, 44, and Steven McPhee, 36.

The four men face 30 charges in total.

Among them is the claim that Robert McPhee and James McPhee detained a man against his will and attacked him between 1999 and 2006.

Fed dog food

The charge further states that the victim was left in a shed for three days and that James McPhee forced an eight-year old boy to pour petrol over him.

A naked flame is then said to have been brandished at the man.

Prosecutors also claim the victim was fed dog food, made to beg for water and forced to kiss the feet of James McPhee.

The charge - said to be racially aggravated - is alleged to have occurred at a number of locations including in Bathgate, West Lothian.

Robert McPhee is also alleged to have held one man against his will on various occasions between 2011 and 2014.

The charge includes claims that the man was made to stay in "squalid living conditions" under Mr McPhee's control and was not allowed to leave.

It is further stated that he was forced to do work "for little or no pay" and threatened with violence if he disobeyed.

Assault and abduction

John Miller is alleged to have joined Robert McPhee in similar crimes against two other men.

One of the victims is said to have been held between 2011 and 2012 while the latter was allegedly forced into servitude in late 2016.

The men also face a charge under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act.

Other allegations in the seven-page indictment include allegations of assault and abduction.

Steven McPhee faces a number of the assault charges, including the claim that he attacked a man with a brush, concrete slabs and a pick axe handle.