Man Pledges Guilty to Keeping a Slave in His Shed for 40 Years

Andrei Tapalaga

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Peter Swailes and the shed where his victim was kept, according to the policeNews Sky

On January the 18th a man kept in terrible conditions had been discovered by Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), supported by Cumbria Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA)in England, Cumbria county. This man had been forcefully living in a 6-foot shed on a residential site owned by Peter Swailes. 

Peter Swailes had told the authorities as well as the judge in court that his father had taken the victim under their wing 40 years ago to work on farms. The victim told the authorities that he had been working on farms, painting, tarmacking, and slating every day for the past 40 years and paid only £10 ($13.60) per day

The victim was found living in miserable conditions, with no heating, and in a very dirty place that hadn’t been cleaned in years. On the ground, there was a mattress on which the victim had slept for all of those years. This could be called a case of modern slavery but based on how many years the victim had been kept in these miserable conditions the court had to treat it differently. 

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GLAA senior investigating officer Martin Plimmer looking at the living conditions of the victimNews Sky

GLAA senior investigating officer Martin Plimmer had mentioned in an interview taken by the DailyMail:

“I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and professionalism of my investigators in dealing with what has been a very complex investigation, one that has thrown up numerous challenges along the way. First and foremost in my mind at this time though is the victim. We are sadly all too aware of the fact that he will be traumatized by his experience for the rest of his life. I am committed to ensuring he continues to have the regular, consistent support he needs which allows him to lead as normal a life as he can in the circumstances.”

The investigation started in 2019 by GLAA suspected Swaile’s son of these offenses. He was also arrested based on the same suspicions, but as the officers didn’t have enough evidence Swaile was released from arrest. The name of the victim had been kept hidden from the public as this was their wish. The victim is now in their early 60s, meaning that the victim had spent most of their adult life working and locked as a slave. 

Peter Swailes had pleaded guilty at Carlisle Crown Court to modern slavery. The judge said that in his whole career he had never even heard of such a horrific slavery case. Swailes was bailed from arrest until the 4th of February when he will receive his sentence that can be up to 18 years according to the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) 2015.

 However, due to the severity of this case, the judge could be looking at a life sentence. Although Peter Swailes's father is technically the man guilty, he had died in 2019. Everyone is now waiting to see how many years will Swailes receive for his offense. The victim is somewhat happy that Swailes pledged guilty, but that will not give him back all the years lost. 

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