South East Wales

Man 'forced to work without pay' for 13 years

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Media captionDarrell Simester had been missing for 13 years

A father and son forced a vulnerable man to work unpaid at their farm every day for 13 years, a court has heard.

Darrell Simester, 44, had to work 15-hour-days living in squalid conditions at Cariad Farm at Peterstone near Newport, heard a jury.

His family struggled to recognise him when they tracked him down in a "horrific state" with a chest infection, a hernia and calloused feet.

The trial at Cardiff Crown Court is expected to last up to six weeks.

Daniel Doran, 67, and 42-year-old David Daniel Doran deny charges of requiring Mr Simester to perform forced or compulsory labour between 2010 and 2013.

The family of Mr Simester, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, had not known of his whereabouts since 2000.

'Under menace'

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Mr Simester's family struggled to recognise him, the court heard

John Hipkin, prosecuting, said when Mr Simester was eventually tracked down by his worried family in 2013 he was found living in a caravan which had been described by a police officer as "left to rot" and "unfit for human habitation".

Mr Simester slept in a rat-infested shed for more than a decade with just his horse manure-stained clothing for bedding - before being moved to a squalid and cold caravan with a broken door, heard Cardiff Crown Court.

He was said to have washed himself in an animal's feeding trough, while the broken outdoor toilet he had to use would only flush with a bucket of water and a stick.

He also had to huddle so close to an electric heater for warmth that over the years the skin on his left leg had been scarred.

After police raided the farm, Mr Simester told officers he had tried to leave twice - once after a spade had been thrown at him - but he had been caught and taken back to the farm by David Doran.

He was allegedly told he would be killed and buried with the horses.

Mr Hipkin said: "Darrell Simester was a man of timid disposition who for 13 years was forced to work against his will and under menace.

He added: "Darrell Simester regarded the defendants as his bosses. He worked (virtually) every day for 13 years.

"His working day would start at 7am and and he would finish between 9pm and 10pm. He did not receive any pay at all.

"You (the jury) will have to decide whether Mr Simester remained at the farm as a volunteer because he preferred life there, or whether he was coerced to stay while under some form of threat."


The court heard that Mr Simester had gone missing in 2000 after taking a seaside trip to Porthcawl in south Wales.

He was allegedly picked up by the Doran family while travelling back to Kidderminster.

From 2000 until 2008 was allowed to phone his family three or four times a year but was threatened with death if he told them where he was living.

The jury heard that after 2008 the phone calls stopped and his family started searching for him.

A Facebook campaign and press coverage led to a police tip-off that he was being held at Cariad Farm and his family travelled to the Gypsy horse farm run by Daniel and David Doran.

Mr Hipkin told the court Mr Simester's own brother didn't recognise him when he first arrived on the farm.

"His brother Duncan walked through the farm gate - he saw a man shovelling manure into a wheel barrow," Mr Hipkin said.

"Duncan approached him and after a little time recognised it was his brother. He was in a bad physical condition.

"He was hunched over and wearing ripped clothes and shoes. Darrell Simester for his own part didn't recognise his own brother and looked scared.

"His father when he saw him described him as being in a horrific state, hunched over and barely able to walk. He was filthy."

Police raided the farm and took Mr Simester away for medical treatment.

The trial continues.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Daniel Doran and his son David Daniel Doran deny forced labour charges