Accountant and teacher kept girl, 14, as a slave

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The Independent Online

A "heartless" accountant who helped his wife smuggle a 14-year-old girl into Britain and subjected her to years of slavery, was jailed for 18 months yesterday.

Samuel Quainoo and his wife Ernestina, a teacher, who was given a suspended sentence, denied the girl schooling and did not allow her to make friends. They forced her to wear hand-me-downs, apart from once buying her T-shirts with "my other name is bitch" printed on them.

The couple pretended the girl was their own child, but forced her to cook, clean and do the washing for their real child while they were at work, London's Isleworth Crown Court was told.

She was never paid and later told police and social workers she was so desperate that she had thought about committing suicide.

When confronted by police, Quainoo, who has a previous conviction for false accounting, claimed the child had cursed them with a "voodoo" spell.

Quainoo, 59, and his wife, 37, of West Drayton, pleaded guilty to one count of child trafficking but claimed the girl was properly looked after and "treated like a daughter". Judge Jonathan Lowen said he had no doubt they were lying. It was "clear that girl's entry was carefully planned" with false birth and baptism certificates being used to persuade British high commission officials in Ghana to grant her a visa, he said.

Dismissing Mrs Quainoo's claim of unstinting love and care for the girl as "inconsistent" with the facts, he accepted the teenager's account of being a "servant or slave" during her two-year ordeal.

"You were both a teacher and a graduate and of a different socio-economic plateau," he told the couple during sentencing. "Your exploitation of her was heartless and sustained."