Updated: 12/09/17 : 13:57:12
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Irish Travellers jailed in UK for slavery offences

The head of an Irish traveller family convicted of modern day slavery offences has been jailed for 10 years.

Martin Rooney Senior was one of 10 men and one woman who ran a driveway resurfacing company and kept workers housed in caravans.

Nottingham Crown Court heard their victims were beaten and left without running water or toilet facilities.

The family were described as being "chilling in their mercilessness" towards their victims.

Sentencing him, Timothy Spencer QC said: "You brought up your sons in a criminal culture."

The judge also compared the squalid lives of the victims to the lavish lifestyle the family enjoyed.

"It was like the gulf between medieval royalty and peasantry," he told him.


















        The 11 convicted people ran a driveway resurfacing business - names and charges below
                                                                                Photo: Lincolnshire Police

Police began operations against members of the Rooney family in September 2014 when seven warrants were executed in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and London.

A number of victims were found and the UK Human Trafficking Centre concluded 18 men had been illegally brought to the sites.

The victims were all described as vulnerable adults, aged between 18 and 63, who were often homeless and had been picked up by the defendants from across the UK.

In one attack, a man was beaten with a shovel and left injured in a caravan for days for returning a car with no petrol.

Beaten, abused and made to dig own grave

The court also heard of one victim's terrifying ordeal which spanned more than a quarter of a century.

On one occasion, he was made to dig his own grave if he did not agree to a lifetime of servitude.

Judge Spencer also spoke of how the family used food as a means of control over their victims.

"They knew if they wanted to eat, they had to stay at Drinsey Nook," he said.

"None of the men, in my judgement, were ever truly free to leave at all."

He told Bridget Rooney, described as the matriarch of the family, she had "the power to stop this".

She was jailed for seven years.


















                    The victims lived in squalor, police said . Photo: Lincolnshire Police

The 11 convicted are:


John Rooney, 31, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, conspiracy to defraud, fraud by false representation, two counts of theft

Patrick Rooney, 31, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, fraud by abuse of position, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of theft

Bridget Rooney, 55, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour

Martin Rooney, 35, of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield - Conspiracy to defraud, two counts of converting criminal property

Martin Rooney, 57, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, unlawful wounding

Martin Rooney, 23, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour, assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Patrick Rooney, 54, of Sainfoin Farm, Gatemoor Lane, Beaconsfield - Converting criminal property

John Rooney, 53, of Chantry Croft, Pontefract - Two counts of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour

Peter Doran, 36, of Washingborough Road, Lincoln - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour

Gerard Rooney, 46, of Washingborough Road, Lincoln - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour

Lawrence Rooney, 47, of no fixed address - Conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour

Two others, Eileen Rooney, 32, of Drinsey Nook, Sheffield Road, Saxilby and Nora Rooney, 31, of the same address, were both acquitted.

In total nine of the Travellers were jailed for a total of 80 years with a further two receiving suspended sentences.