May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Court Reporter
Friday, April 20, 2012
The Romanian captors of the seven-year-old “Cinderella” forced to work as a slave were jailed for a total of more than 40 years today as a judge revealed Haringey Council had been asked to investigate what was happening at the Wood Green house.
Aurel Zlate, 46, and his 43-year-old wife Alexandra Oaie repeatedly beat and humiliated the little girl - who had been sent to Britain with the gypsy family in the hope of a better life - while keeping a 53-year-old man captive in their shed.
Today they were sent to prison for nine-and-a-half years and nine years respectively, while their eldest son Marian Neamu, 25, was jailed for 13 years for one count of trafficking, plus ABH, assault by penetration, rape and false imprisonment.
Younger son Florin Zlate, 23, was jailed for nine years for one count each of ABH, assault by penetration, rape and false imprisonment.
Jailing the “cruel and sadistic” couple at Croydon Crown Court, Judge Shani Barnes said: “You stole this sweet and innocent little girl’s childhood by your treatment of her, by your neglect, by your cruelty.
“You made her think you were her parents and this was normal.”
The “misery” in which the man and little girl were kept was only discovered once the man - an electrician who had fallen on hard times - managed to escape to Wood Green police station in March last year, scrawling “SOS” on a piece of paper to alert the authorities to their plight.
Judge Barnes said: “He became a filthy cold scavenging man who was living in a twilight misery that is hard to imagine could possibly happen in Wood Green in 2010.”
The little girl - who the electrician had nicknamed “Cinderella” - was discovered at the house on April 1, when the police carried out a search.
Shockingly, Judge Barnes revealed today the two captives could have been rescued earlier had Haringey Council acted on reports by a concerned neighbour.
The neighbour had spotted the cowering man, who cannot be named, living in the shed with no light or heat and had “alerted the local authority repeatedly asking them to investigate what was going on in the house”.
Judge Barnes, who noted the council only attended a month after the slaves escaped, awarded the neighbour a £400 reward, adding: “If society was full of people like him then we would all be a little safer in our homes.”
A Haringey Council spokesman said it was looking into what happened.
She said: “Alerts like this one by the neighbour should be followed up and investigated immediately. We are looking into exactly what happened in this case to ensure our procedures were correctly followed.”