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Family kidnapped homeless Scot and forced him to do labour

Michael John Hughes was taken back to Wales in the boot of a car after escaping to Aberdeen.

Connors family: Trio jailed for 27 years in total.
Connors family: Trio jailed for 27 years in total. Gwent Police

Three members of the same family have been found guilty of forcing a homeless man to work for their family business.

Scot Michael John Hughes travelled to Wales from Aberdeen seeking a better life but ended up being made to work for as little as £5 a day for more than 20 years.

Mr Hughes, 46, said he was beaten "all the time" if he did not do as he was told and was made to live in appalling conditions.

Jurors at Cardiff Crown Court heard he was hunted down each time he tried to escape, including one occasion when he was bundled into the boot of a car in Aberdeen before being taken back to Wales.

On the third day of deliberations, Patrick Joseph Connors, 59, and son Patrick Dean Connors, 39, alongside nephew William Connors, 36, were convicted of making Mr Hughes perform forced or compulsory labour between 2010 and 2013.

The head of the family, Patrick Joseph Connors, of Rumney, was also found guilty of eight counts of causing actual bodily harm, four of kidnap and one of conspiracy to kidnap.

The court also heard a second man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been frightened into submission for years and was kidnapped on at least four occasions after trying to escape.

A victim impact statement from the man, known only as Mr K, described Connors Snr as an animal and said years of malnutrition caused him to develop the brittle bone disease osteoporosis.

Court: Three members of the same Welsh family were found guilty in Cardiff (file pic).
Court: Three members of the same Welsh family were found guilty in Cardiff (file pic). Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/PA Images

It read: "Mr K said he felt extremely paranoid and has been constantly looking over his shoulder out of fear at the prospect of repercussions or running into the Connors.

"He has subsequently been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and has been prescribed anti-depressants."

Patrick Joseph Connors' son-in-law Lee Christopher Carbis, 34, of Trowbridge, was cleared of the compulsory labour charge against Mr Hughes but found guilty of kidnapping Mr K.

Not guilty verdicts were returned against Patrick Dean Connors on a charge of conspiracy to kidnap and William Connors on a charge of assault.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it hoped the jury's verdicts would give the victims a sense of comfort after years of abuse.

Catrin Evans, head of the Crown Prosecution Service Cymru/Wales Complex Casework Unit, said: "Today's convictions are a direct result of the immense courage both victims have shown in coming forward to report what happened.

"The criminal justice system cannot undo what has happened to them, nor give them back the years they have lost, but we hope that these convictions will give them some measure of assistance as they continue to rebuild their lives."

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