Sheffield slavery victim is adopted son of top policeman

CCTV footage of members of the Rooke family assaulting Craig Kinsella.
CCTV footage of members of the Rooke family assaulting Craig Kinsella.
Have your say

A VULNERABLE man with learning difficulties who was forced to work “like a slave” and regularly beaten by three members of the same family is the son of one of the country’s leading anti-trafficking experts, it has emerged.

Father-of-two Craig Kinsella had to use a bucket for a toilet and ended up scavenging for food in bins after being made to live in a Sheffield garage for six weeks by David, Donna and Jamie Rooke.

It was reported yesterday that the 34-year-old, who has an IQ of between 75 and 85, was adopted at the age of 12 by Nick Kinsella, the former head of the UK’s Human Trafficking Centre.

Mr Kinsella, a former Detective Chief Superintendent from Sheffield whose role involved drafting the Government’s anti-slavery policy, said he had no idea his adopted son was being kept prisoner by the Rooke family.

He told The Star newspaper in Sheffield: “This came out of the blue. We had no idea it was happening to Craig.

“I’ve never doubted this could happen to any family – I used to say that when I gave talks. It’s just ironic it has actually happened to us. And unfortunately it reinforces the message I’ve spent years trying to get across.”

He added: “The first I knew was when I got a phone call when I was on the M1 to say Craig had been assaulted.

“We went straight to the hospital and were shocked by what we saw. He looked dirty, he looked hungry. I think he had just eaten three dinners straight in a row.”

David Rooke, who runs an ice cream business, and with his wife and son were told they were guilty of “almost unbelievable” cruelty as they were jailed for a total of nearly 11 years at Sheffield Crown Court.

Members of the family subjected Craig Kinsella to regular beatings during the six-week period he lived in the garage, often punching and kicking him and even attacking him with a spade handle and pick-axe handle.

Prosecutors said the victim, who was abused as a child, was not physically stopped from leaving but had his will broken by the family’s threats and violence and was too scared to do so.

Neighbours living near the Rooke family home on Halifax Road told police that Mr Kinsella was “like their slave” and “talked to like a dog” by the family, who never allowed him in the house.

And it was only when a neighbour called 999, prompting police to attend, that the extent of the abuse suffered by Mr Kinsella come to light.

CCTV footage of various members of the Rooke family assaulting Mr Kinsella was shown to the judge, who said it was impossible to watch without wincing.

Judge Peter Kelson QC told the Rookes: “His will had been completely broken by the way you treated him. You treated him like a dog.” He added: “Man’s inhumanity to man never ceases to shock.”

David Brooke, prosecuting, told the court that Craig Kinsella’s adoptive parents realised he had difficulties and, when he was about 14, he was found to have a low IQ.

Mr Brooke said Craig was still in contact with his adoptive family, and saw them about once a year at Christmas. He also said Craig had been married, and he and his partner had two children, but the relationship broke down.

Nick Kinsella said: “You can give your children advice and guide them, but you can’t be with them 24 hours a day.

“Craig was a grown man who had jobs, had been married, had children and lived independently.

“We are so sad this happened to Craig. It’s sad that it happens to anyone. There’s not enough being done on this issue.”

The UK Human Trafficking centre was set up in Sheffield by the Home Office because of South Yorkshire Police’s success at investigating human trafficking offences in the city.

The base acted as a central point for police and other agencies trying to combat the problem and help victims.

Mr Kinsella was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal in the 2009 New Year’s honours list for services to policing. In 2010 the UK Human Trafficking centre was taken over by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.