Deaf slave did not understand border staff, jury told
Charlie Cooper is Health Correspondent for The Independent, i, and The Independent on Sunday, writing on the NHS, medical advances, and international health. Since joining the papers as an editorial assistant, he has been nominated for young journalist of the year at both the Press Awards and the British Journalism Awards.
Wednesday 15 February 2012
A deaf girl allegedly trafficked to the UK from Pakistan and imprisoned in a cellar where she was abused and raped was spoken to by UK border officials when she arrived in the country, a court heard yesterday.
The girl, who cannot be named, is believed to have been aged between 10 and 12 when she arrived in the country. However, giving evidence at Minshull Street Crown Court using sign language and via an interpreter, the girl said she could not understand what the passport officials were saying to her.
Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 66, from Eccles, Greater Manchester, deny human trafficking and false imprisonment.
The girl said her body ached from being forced to do constant cooking and cleaning and that she was spied on by "the old lady" of the house. She had previously told the court that she had been slapped, beaten, sexually abused and hit with a rolling pin.
The girl was kept as a virtual slave and endured a decade of abuse at the couple's house, jurors in Manchester were told.
It is also alleged benefits were falsely claimed in the girl's name.
The girl – now aged between 19 and 21 but whose precise age is unknown – was locked in a cellar without toilet facilities each night and had to sleep on a concrete floor, jurors were told.
Mr Ashar also denies 12 counts of rape and Mrs Ashar one count of sexual assault and unlawful wounding. In addition, the couple, along with their daughter Faaiza, 44, deny charges of benefit fraud.
The case continues.
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