Sunday 17 December 2017

Family kept 'slave' in garage and treated him as punchbag

Husband and wife David and Donna Rooke arrive at Sheffield Crown Court
Husband and wife David and Donna Rooke arrive at Sheffield Crown Court
CCTV footage of members of the Rooke family assaulting Craig Kinsella.
A view of an ice cream van and garage at the home of David, Donna and Jamie Rooke on Halifax Road, Grenoside, Sheffield as they have appeared at Sheffield Crown Court where they face charges of falsely imprisoning and assaulting a man over a six week period. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 7, 2014. See PA story COURTS Rooke. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Dean Gray

An ice-cream business owner who kept a vulnerable man like a 'slave' has been jailed for six-and-a-half years by a judge who said it was "staggering" this could happen in modern society.

David Rooke forced Craig Kinsella (34) to live in a garage where he suffered regular beatings and ended up scavenging for food in bins, a British court has heard.

Rooke (44) has admitted falsely imprisoning and attacking Mr Kinsella and was jailed along with his wife Donna (40) and son Jamie (19) at Sheffield Crown Court.

CCTV footage of various members of the Rooke family assaulting Mr Kinsella was shown to Judge Peter Kelson who said it was impossible to watch without wincing.

The judge said the family used Mr Kinsella like a "punchbag" and treated him "like a dog".

"It's almost unbelievable," he said. Judge Kelson told the Rookes: "His will had been completely broken by the way you treated him. You treated him like a dog. Man's inhumanity to man never ceases to shock.

"He was fed very little -- fed by way of food left out. He was kept hungry. He was constantly beaten and battered.

"He was just your punchbag, all three of you. If you were in a bad mood you would just go and kick and punch Craig Kinsella.

"It is staggering that this is happening in our society, absolutely staggering. It is almost unbelievable."

Judge Kelson told David Rooke: "He was under your control. He was treated horrendously. He was treated like a dog. The conditions were grotesque and you were just exploiting him. The hatred is simply immeasurable."Commending South Yorkshire Police, he said: "My fear is that there are more of these cases about and we are now only beginning to discover them."

David Rooke admitted false imprisonment yesterday and a number of counts of causing actual bodily harm.

Jamie Rooke admitted affray and a number of counts of causing actual bodily harm. He was jailed for four years.

Donna Rooke admitted a specimen count of battery. She was jailed for four months.

All three live in Grenoside, Sheffield, where Mr Kinsella was living in the garage at the side of the family home for about two months before police intervened in July last year.

He was not allowed into the house. One neighbour told police: "He was like their slave. They talked to him like a dog. They used horrible words. He never retaliated."

The court heard the attacks on Mr Kinsella involved weapons such as pick-axe handles, spade handles and a crowbar.


He'd been living in the garage and slept on a piece of carpet and used an old curtain as a blanket. Mr Kinsella began to work for the family a number of years ago and was paid £40 (about €50) a week so he could keep claiming benefits.

He eventually told police what happened to him after officers were called to the bungalow following an incident in which Jamie Rooke produced a knife during an altercation with a neighbour.Mr Kinsella was taken to hospital after an officer spotted a range of injuries and he eventually told his story.

The court heard Mr Kinsella had learning difficulties and neighbours described him as being a bit "slow".

The judge ordered David Rooke to pay Mr Kinsella £15,000 that police found in cash at his home. "Quite clearly this in no way reflects the pain and suffering inflicted on Craig Kinsella but it's better than nothing," he said. When Mr Kinsella was taken to hospital he was found to be suffering from a broken right arm, a fractured rib, extreme bruising to his back and around his kidney, a fractured chin and cuts, and lumps and bruises on his head.

Irish Independent

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