Alleged victim claims that he was ‘forced to stay with the dogs’

An alleged victim was forced to work on hardly any pay and told to stay in a trailer with the dogs at an Oxford caravan park, Oxford Crown Court has heard.

During a police interview replayed to the court on Monday, 51-year-old Nicholas Iliff said he never got his benefit money because he was not allowed his letterbox key because ‘Mary has got the key and she is in charge’.

However, Mr Iliff, who is illiterate and has severe learning difficulties, also told the jury yesterday via video link he called two of the family mum and dad.

Christopher Joyce, 81, and his children Mary Joyce, 59, Timothy Joyce Senior, 44, and Helen Collins, 44, of Redbridge Hollow caravan site, all deny conspiracy to hold Mr Iliff in servitude between April 6 2010 and February 9 2015.

During the trial on Monday a police interview from February was played.

Mr Iliff said: “I was 15 when I went to the Joyces’. I am 50 years old. I have got to put a stop to it.”

He added: “I asked them ‘why can’t I go into a caravan?’ They told me I can’t, go back into
that trailer. I said ‘why should I go back into that trailer when the dogs are in there?’ It really upset me.”

“If I’m having a shower I have to tell them, if I go to the shops I have to tell them. Whenever I go I have to tell them everything.”

But yesterday defending barrister for Christopher Joyce, Graham Bennett, said Mr Iliff was treated as part of the family.

Mr Bennett asked Mr Iliff: “You called Winnie mum and you called Chistopher dad?”

To which Mr Iliff said: “Yes.”

He also said the family had saved a grave plot space at Wolvercote Cemetary for Mr Iliff beside Winnie Joyce – Christopher Joyce’s deceased wife.

Mr Bennett continued: “Do you know that eventually when dad dies that’s where he’s going to be buried as well and there’s also a place for Mary to be buried when she dies.  The final place, is that a place for you to be buried as well?”

Mr Iliff said: “Yes.”

Christopher and Mary Joyce and Helen Collins also deny charges dating back to 2002 of defrauding Mr Iliff of benefits.

Mr Iliff also suffers from the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome – where the immune system attacks the nervous system – and had various appointments at Donnington Health Centre.

He said: “Every time I go to the doctor Mary is coming in there to see the doctors, talking to the doctors. I am scared to speak; I’m scared to talk when she is in there. Why does she have to come in there with me?”

His GP Richard Green gave evidence at the trial on Monday.

Dr Green said: “He was always accompanied at his appointments, yes. I certainly remember him attending with Mary Joyce. The tendency was for the person accompanying him to do all the talking. It appeared to be consensual.”

The trial continues.