Bristol

Forced labour trial: Man 'treated like a piece of cloth'

Cupboard under the stairs in forced labour trial Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption The victim was forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, jurors heard

A man allegedly kept as a slave and forced to live under the stairs by his housemates was "treated like a piece of cloth", jurors heard.

Bristol Crown Court was shown a police video where Gabriel Nicolae spoke of cruelty by people he saw as "family".

Ion Boboc, Christiana Tudor-Dobre and Mihai-Aurel Dan, of Evans Close, Bristol, deny charges of forced or compulsory labour.

They are also charged with one count of fraud each, which they also deny.

The court heard police raided the property in St Anne's, in Bristol, last July after being tipped off by concerned neighbours.

Stabbed in hand

The jury were shown a video, filmed on 20 August, four weeks after the police raid on 27 July.

In the video, Mr Nicolae "accepted" he was being abused by his housemates. He said the abuse had started at a previous address in Midland Terrace in the Fishponds area of Bristol.

He said, in the police interview, they had begun to describe him as "filthy" and that on one occasion Mr Boboc had stabbed him in the hand with a knife.

Mr Nicolae said the abuse escalated when they moved to the property in St Anne's in the winter of 2017.

He told police he was made to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, was refused permission to use the bathroom and would have to go the woods if he needed the toilet.

He also said he was given "lesser food" and not allowed to eat at the table.

The trial continues.

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