Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UK slave-owners were activists

26 November 2013, 18:16

London - A couple who allegedly held three women as "slaves" in a London house for 30 years were prominent Maoist activists in the 1970s, according to media reports on Monday.

The couple, named by British newspapers as Indian-born Aravindan Balakrishnan and his Tanzanian wife Chanda, were arrested on Thursday after their three alleged captives were freed in a police operation.

One of the victims, aged 30, is believed to have spent her entire life in servitude.

It was also reported in Britain's press on Tuesday that a female member of the sect died after falling from a bathroom window at the house in 1996.

Police are looking into the death of Sian Davies, 44, who fell two floors on Christmas Eve. She was left paralysed and died in August 1997.

A Marxist history website said Balakrishnan, 73, was a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) but had been suspended in 1974 because of the "conspiratorial and splittist activities" of his "clique".

Slaves ‘brainwashed’

The website also said Balakrishnan, dubbed "Comrade Bala", had been arrested in 1978 along with his wife during an attempt by police to shut down a Maoist centre in south London's Brixton area.

The three "slaves" - a 57-year-old Irish woman, a Malaysian aged 69 and the 30-year-old Briton - were freed on 25 October after one of them secretly contacted a charity.

Police said the women, who are believed to have been living in a flat in Brixton, were brainwashed and had reported being beating, but did not appear to have been sexually abused.

They were occasionally allowed out of the house and detectives are working to understand the "invisible handcuffs" that were used to control them.

Police revealed on Saturday that the two older victims had met their male captor through a "shared political ideology" and initially lived with him as part of a collective.

Meanwhile media reported that the youngest of the victims, named by The Sun newspaper as "Rosie", had bombarded a male neighbour with love letters but warned him not to confront her "mad and evil" captors.

"I'm like a fly trapped in a spider's web," she reportedly told 26-year-old Marius Feneck in one of around 500 letters sent to him over eight years.

"These monsters here are mad and evil and racist - they've locked all doors and windows and keep keys on themselves at all times," she is said to have written.

Police probing addressed linked to couple

Police said on Monday they were investigating 13 addresses linked to the couple, who came to Britain in the 1960s and are also suspected of immigration offences.

Detectives carried out house-to-house inquiries at the weekend in Brixton, one of London's poorer, more ethnically-diverse districts that was the scene of notorious anti-government riots in the 1980s.

The exact address where the women were held has not been identified, but the police operation centred on a modern, low-rise block of flats in Brixton's Peckford Place.

Specially-trained officers are now working with the women to try to understand what happened to them. All 37 officers in Scotland Yard's Human Trafficking Unit are working on the investigation.

Home Secretary Theresa May said on Sunday that tackling modern slavery in Britain was a "personal priority" and that other victims were "hidden in plain sight".



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...