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Tuesday, 04 April 2017

Jail terms for couple who imprisoned and sexually abused mentally-disordered woman

Written by Michael McHugh

A couple who sexually abused a mentally-disordered woman held prisoner in their home for six years have been sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison.

Keith and Caroline Baker raped and sexually abused their traumatised and emaciated victim, who had no way of escaping them.

Neighbours in Craigavon in Co Armagh in Northern Ireland did not know she was there.

She was so badly malnourished most of her teeth had to be removed once she was rescued by police in 2012.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC said: "It is not easy to understand how these individuals have so lost their moral compass that they could subject an individual who clearly exhibited serious mental defects to mistreatment, in sexual terms depriving her of any dignity and even the most basic of living standards."

He added: "Mr Baker presented as a Svengali figure, exercising control on three women based on his dominance, willingness to resort to violence and total immorality."

Baker was also living with a third woman, who eventually alerted police.

Keith Baker slumped in a wheelchair outside the dock at Craigavon Crown Court. His wife Caroline stood inside, with her head bowed.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and she was jailed for three years with 18 months' early release under licence.

Their victim was reported missing in England in 2004. She was taken to Northern Ireland by Mr Baker, the judge said.

The woman was kept in a filthy room at their Craigavon home, with no heat, light bulb or carpet. The door handle had been removed on the inside, meaning she was unable to escape.

The bathroom floor was covered in human waste and her mattress was badly stained.

The perpetrators filmed themselves attacking their naked and helpless victim.

The judge said: "She lacked the capacity to make decisions and was regarded as a mentally disordered person and did not have capacity to consent to sex."

Keith Baker, 61 whose address was given as prison, and Caroline Baker, 54, pleaded guilty to sexual activity involving penetration and causing a person with a mental disorder to engage in sexual activity.

Keith Baker was also charged with rape and indecent assault. Caroline Baker was charged with aiding and abetting rape and other sexual offences including indecent assault.

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