London

Perivale couple 'kept man as slave for 24 years'

Antan Edet
Image caption Antan Edet, a nurse, is accused along with her husband of keeping Ofonime Sunday Inuk in slavery and servitude

A couple "owned" and used a man as a slave for 24 years, a court heard.

Emmanuel and Antan Edet controlled every aspect of Ofonime Sunday Inuk's life in London "down to his very name", prosecutors told Harrow Crown Court.

Mr and Mrs Edet, a doctor and nurse from Perivale, also confiscated his passport, the court heard. They deny slavery and cruelty charges.

The jury heard in 1989 Mr Inuk, then aged about 14, left Nigeria with the couple after a friend introduced them.

He had been promised he would be paid for his work for them and would receive an education, the court was told.

'Deprived of identity'

Instead, he was forced to clean, sleep on the floor and provide childcare, and told that if he tried to run away he would be arrested as an illegal immigrant, the prosecution said.

Prosecutor Roger Smart told court the couple had "deprived the complainant of his identity, his rights to education and freedom of movement and the money he should have received".

Mr Smart said: "The victim has described as having spent 24 years of his life and having nothing to show for it - his mother has died, he has no means of returning to Nigeria.

"He was entirely dependent on them and they deprived him of his adolescence, his education and his family life. They have treated him beneath contempt."

The young man used to eat by himself, and the couple changed Mr Inuk's name so he had the same surname as them, Mr Smart said.

'Had no choice'

Mr Smart said this was not the young man's "choice nor his desire" but allowed Mr Edet to "move him not only domestically but internationally at their convenience and whim".

Mr Edet, 60 was a trained obstetrician and gynaecologist and his wife Antan, 58, was a senior sister at a hospital.

Each have pleaded not guilty to holding a person in slavery and servitude and assisting unlawful immigration.

They also deny a further count of cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

Mr Smart told the jury Mr Inuk became so dependent on the couple he had no choice but to stay with them.

The trial continues.

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