Detectives investigating slavery allegations involving three women in south London think that two of the victims initially began living with the male suspect in a like-minded “collective”.
Officers are going door-to-door in Brixton in search of help. One line of inquiry is that the youngest of the women to be rescued from the house, a 30-year-old, may have been born there. She has a birth certificate, police said, but no other official documents have been found since the women agreed to leave the property at Peckford Place, understood to be a former housing association property, on 25 October. The other alleged victims are a 57-year-old Irish woman and a 69-year-old Malaysian.
Commander Steve Rodhouse said: “The suspects are of Indian and Tanzanian origin who came to the UK in the 1960s. We believe that two of the victims met the male suspect through a shared political ideology, and that they lived together at an address that you could effectively call a ‘collective’. Somehow that collective came to an end and the women ended up continuing to live with the suspects. How this resulted in the women living in this way for over 30 years is what we are seeking to establish, but we believe emotional and physical abuse has been a feature of all the victims’ lives.”
The two suspects, a man and a woman, both 67, have been released on bail.
Some neighbours around Peckford Place were only discovering yesterday that the case had unfolded in their street. One resident, Abdul Rogers, said: “The problem with this place is people don’t speak to each other. I don’t even know my next-door neighbour. If I met them on the street now I would not be able to tell it was my next-door neighbour, which is not good for community cohesion. Nobody speaks to each other.”
Local councillors in Lambeth told The IoS tonight that bosses were refusing to confirm to them whether Adult Services or Children’s Services had ever had any contact with the residents of the address.
Council leader Lib Peck, said: “It is vital that the police conduct a thorough investigation into these extremely complex and serious allegations.”