Worthing woman found guilty of keeping slave captive in 'abhorrent' 16 year abuse campaign
A woman has been found guilty of keeping a vulnerable woman captive as a slave for years, financially exploiting her and covering up her crimes.
Wealthy Sussex landlady, Farzana Kausar, was convicted of modern slavery and attempting to pervert the course of justice at Lewes Crown Court last Thursday (13 October).
The 58-year-old of Selden Road, Worthing, met her 62-year-old victim when she began renting a room from Kausar's mother, who is now deceased.
Tragically for the victim, the next 16 years she endured a horrendous campaign of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Kausar.
The victim was gradually trapped by Kausar into a life of social isolation and domestic servitude.
Kausar moved the victim into her homes in Sussex and London, forcing forcing her to look after her young children, cook for the family, clean their home and complete other household chores.
The landlady also took full control of her victim’s finances, opening bank accounts in her name - from which she withdrew money - and making benefit claims on her behalf that she also kept for herself.
The victim's bank accounts were used to pay bills stemming from Kausar's property empire and her her name was used to register Kausar’s car for disabled use – allowing her to dodge road tax and park in disabled bays.
Sussex police received reports of suspicious activity relating to Kausar in May 2019 - and a modern slavery investigation was launched.
Two days later she was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences and assault, and released under investigation while enquiries continued.
During the investigation, a letter was given by Kausar to the police within which she claimed was written by the victim, seemingly withdrawing her support for the investigation.
At this point the victim was removed from Kausar’s home and rehoused, but within a matter of weeks Kausar had started to contact her again, eventually taking her back within her control.
Kausar did not inform social services and instead moved the victim to a property in London without the knowledge of Sussex Police or partner agencies.
She took further steps to mask her crimes by proactively contacting the police in February 2020, claiming the victim had been contacting her regularly, but adding she had not seen her for months and had no knowledge of her whereabouts.
This was later proven to be untrue.
In May 2020, police visited a house in Ilford where the victim was found to be living in a box room, arranged by Kausar.
She was re-homed and placed in safe accommodation.
Charges of keeping a person in slavery/servitude and perverting the course of justice were brought against Kausar shortly after.
Following a three-week trial starting on September 26, a jury took just three hours to find her guilty of both counts.
She is due to be sentenced on Thursday, November 10, at a court to be confirmed.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Simon Morgan said: “Keeping a fellow human being in slavery is an abhorrent crime.
"Farzana Kausar preyed upon her victim’s vulnerabilities for many years, taking control of her freedom, exploiting her and inflicting a catalogue of abuses.
“While her victim may not have been physically caged, she was bound by invisible chains forged of the financial, psychological and physical abuse to which she was routinely subjected.
“Kausar consistently deprived her victim of her day-to-day possessions, her passport and her bank cards – the simple things we may take for granted.
“This conviction rested on the bravery and support of Kausar’s victim, crucial witness testimony and the tenacious investigative work of Sussex Police officers, staff and its partner agencies.
“I would also like to commend the initial informant, who trusted her instincts when something ‘didn’t feel right’ about the dynamic between Kausar and her victim, and reported it to the police.
“I thank them all for the role they played in freeing a vulnerable woman from captivity and bringing a calculated, ruthless offender to justice.”
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...