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‘House of horrors’ sex slave sentences could be referred to Court of Appeal

PPS consider referring case over 'unduly lenient' sentences

A Co Armagh couple who subjected a vulnerable woman to horrific sexual abuse could have their sentences referred to the Court of Appeal.

Keith and Caroline Baker kept the woman – described as having severe learning disabilities – locked in a room for eight years.

She was repeatedly abused over that period of time, with some of these vile and depraved acts filmed for the couple’s own sexual gratification, a court heard yesterday.

There was no handle on the inside of the door and the defenceless victim, who was kept in the dark, was only fed occasionally.

Sixty-one-year-old Keith Baker was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

His wife, Caroline (54), was sentenced to three years, including 18 months on licence.

Both pleaded guilty to a range of offences including a number of sexual assaults over the eight year period.

The horrific nature of this County Armagh house of horror case made headlines around the world.

At Craigavon Crown Court, Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke, Head of the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch, said the couple’s treatment of their victim was an “inhumane way to treat anyone” and added: “Her basic human rights were stolen from her by people who can only be described as evil. What she went through is unimaginable and any right minded person will be horrified to hear about the suffering this victim endured at the hands of these cruel people.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about what this victim endured over the thousands of days she was kept prisoner.”

The officer said it had been a difficult, challenging and emotional case for the officers involved and they had “worked closely with the Public Prosecution Service to build a strong case”.

Today (Wednesday), the Public Prosecution Service confirmed it was looking at the sentences handed down.

“The Public Prosecution Service is currently considering if there is a basis to refer the sentences handed down in this case to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that they may be unduly lenient,” a PPS spokesperson told Belfast Live.

“An unduly lenient sentence is one that falls outside the range of sentence that a judge, taking into consideration all relevant factors and having regard to sentencing guidance, could reasonably consider appropriate.”

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