UK couple arrested for 'enslaving' man under stairs 'like Harry Potter'

Christiana Tudor-Dobre and Ion Buboc
Christiana Tudor-Dobre and Ion Buboc Photo credit: Avon Somerset Police

A Bristol couple have been convicted of multiple offences under the Modern Slavery Act, after it came to light they were abusing a vulnerable man in their home in Bristol.

Ion Boboc and Christiana Tudor-Dobre were found guilty of requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and fraud on February 7. A third man was acquitted.

Their victim, a 31-year-old Romanian man, was described as "vulnerable" by Avon and Somerset Police. The man described the couple as "family" to officers. 

But it's clear Boboc and Tudor-Dobre did not share the man's idea they were "family", forcing him to sleep in a tiny cupboard under their stairs. 

The cupboard the man was made to sleep in
The cupboard the man was made to sleep in Photo credit: Avon Somerset Police

Prosecutor Charles Thomas said the conditions were like "the boy wizard Harry Potter," reports The Independent.

Their victim was not allowed to use the bathroom or the kitchen. He washed himself, his clothes and his dishes outside in the garden. He was also forced to eat outside. Witnesses reported seeing him drinking from a hosepipe.

The man washing items of clothing outside
The man washing items of clothing outside Photo credit: Avon Somerset Police

The vulnerable man was also forced to perform tasks set out by Boboc and Tudor-Dobre.  

The court was shown footage of the man being made to eat highly spiced food, and being ordered to dance and carry out other physical challenges while the couple filmed him and laughed.

Boboc and Tudor-Dobre also controlled his money, giving him enough for the bus fare, plus £1 for biscuits, reports The Independent. The pair took out loans and contracts using their victim's name.

An anonymous call to the Modern Slavery Helpline alerted police to the case, and the pair were arrested on July 27, 2018.

"Without the information through the modern slavery helpline this abuse would still be happening," said Police Constable Roger Ibrahim.

"When we found this man, he appeared underfed and was suffering sores on his feet. No one should be treated in this way."

The abused man is now in a safe place and receiving appropriate support.

Buboc and Tudor-Dobre will be sentenced in March.


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