exploitation | 

Couple who avoided jail after slavery conviction forced to flee after mob attacks home

An angry mob attacked the home of Osarobo “John” Izekor, 36, and 29-year old Precious Izekor just hours after they were found guilty
Precious and John Izekor at Belfast Crown Court where they appeared in the first ever forced labour slavery case to be tried in NI

Precious and John Izekor at Belfast Crown Court where they appeared in the first ever forced labour slavery case to be tried in NI© Photopress Belfast

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

Paula MackinSunday World

This is the boarded-up home of a couple who forced a vulnerable woman to become their domestic slave.

An angry mob attacked the Lisburn home of husband and wife Osarobo “John” Izekor, 36, and 29-year old Precious Izekor just hours after they were found guilty of their sickening crimes.

Windows at the front and back of the Ashmount Gardens property were smashed and the couple, who held a Nigerian national as their personal slave, were forced to flee with their three children in the early hours of the morning.

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

Neighbours described how they packed up their car with as many personal belongings they could manage and drove off under the watchful eye of PSNI officers who attended the scene.

There has been speculation that there may have been paramilitary involvement however residents say they believe the attack was carried out by a mob of teenagers who were high on drink and drugs.

“No one really knows who did it because it was in the middle of the night and it happened so quick but people wanted them out, that’s for sure.

“What they did to that poor woman was a disgrace and cruel. It was no surprise that the home was attacked when people realised who they were and what crime they had committed,” one neighbour told the Sunday World.

“It’s a disgrace that they only got two years suspended considering what they did, is that what you call justice?

“When I heard the windows being smashed I knew who it was. All the neighbours came out and we watched them pack up and leave,” she said.

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The couple kept themselves to themselves and never allowed their children to play on the street with other kids.

“They never annoyed anyone, very quiet, you would never have really seen them. The first we all knew about them was when we read it in the paper and seen them on the TV.

"It was a matter of time before something happened. You can’t get away with that type of thing here. Any wonder they kept their heads down but it all came out in the end, you can’t hide something like that no matter how hard you try,” another neighbour said.

The couple were forced from their home last week and have since declared themselves as homeless.

They were both handed a two-year prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, by Judge Richard Greene QC who ordered them to pay their victim £10,000 in compensation.

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

Last week’s sentencing at Belfast Crown Court marked one of the first cases brought under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act (NI) 2015.

The pair admitted that on dates between September 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 they ‘required another person to perform forced or compulsory labour’.

While the victim was forced to carry out domestic duties, a majority of the criminality by the Izekors was unpaid childcare in their then Castlereagh Place home in Belfast.

As he sentenced the couple, Judge Greene said that whilst it was accepted the Izekors did not physically ill-treat the women they kept as a domestic slave, they gained financially by not having to pay childcare costs while they worked.

The judge added there was also a financial loss to the victim and spoke of the “exploitation of her in the excessive hours she was required to work – both in childminding and in doing household chores which she ought not to have been asked to perform”.

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The Izekors’ boarded up home after they were forced to flee when it was attacked by a mob

The victim – who is now 33 – arrived in Northern Ireland in 2011 and worked as a nanny for John Izekor’s sister for a five-year period.

When John Izekor’s sister returned to Nigeria in the Autumn of 2016, the woman moved into Castlereagh Place with John and Precious. During this period, she was kept ignorant of her immigration status and was prevented from having access to her passport and paperwork.

While working for the Izekors, the woman had her own room and was given food and clothes but was not paid any money, while a small sum was sent to her family in Nigeria.

When she finally raised the issue of her documents with Precious Izekor, an argument ensued. A few days later, she left the Izekors and went to stay with a friend, whoconcerned for the womanfelt she was being exploited and accompanied her to the Home Office.

An investigation was launched which resulted in the involvement of the PSNI and the arrests of John and Precious Izekor, who both admitted the offence.

Crown prosecutor Charles MacCreanor QC said the Probation Board had assessed both husband and wife of presenting a medium risk of re-offending, and both had displayed a limited victim awareness.

Mr MacCreanor said John Izekor possessed a “distorted view of the power relationship” between him and the domestic slave, while Precious has maintained the view that she was helping the woman out.

Pointing out their offending was “over a protracted period”, the barrister added both John and Precious Izekor “had a good working knowledge of the immigration system and have abused it”.

paula.mackin@sundayworld.com


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