Sheffield slavery case jail term shock

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Neighbours in Sheffield today criticised top London judges who failed to increase the length of slavery thug David Rooke’s jail term.

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has also spoken of his disappointment that the brute who shocked the nation by treating captive Craig Kinsella ‘like a dog’ on Halifax Road in Parson Cross will not have his prison sentence increased.

The Government’s most senior lawyer, Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC, made the unusual move of taking the case to the Court of Appeal yesterday to ask for Rooke’s ‘unduly 
lenient’ sentence to be 

Rooke had been jailed for six-and-a-half years at Sheffield Crown Court last October after admitting false imprisonment and actual bodily harm.

But three judges at the Appeal Court in London yesterday dismissed the application - and ruled the original sentence should remain in force.

Today Sheffield MP and former Home Secretary David Blunkett said he was disappointed.

“Like the Attorney General I am both surprised and disappointed at the decision of the Appeal Court,” he said.

Ice cream man David Rooke, aged 45, treated 34-year-old hostage Craig ‘like a dog’ by forcing him to live in his garage and do menial chores.

Together with his wife Donna, 40, and son Jamie, 19, they beat him on a daily basis, deprived him of food, and forced him to sleep on a concrete floor.

The shocking attacks were captured by the Rookes’ own CCTV - and when a concerned neighbour raised the alarm Craig, who has learning difficulties, was found malnourished and with a broken arm.

Donna Rooke was jailed for four months after admitting one specimen count of battery, and their son was jailed for four years for affray.

Today a neighbour who lives close to the Rooke family home told The Star: “I saw some of the CCTV and it was terrible, I couldn’t watch it all.

“It showed vulgar violence and those involved should be ashamed.

“I am glad the Attorney General tried to get Rooke’s sentence increased because he is a thug - but they all are for what they did.

“I think David Rooke deserves at least 10 years.”

Another neighbour added: “All the sentences were far too low for the crime - when we found out what had happened we were disgusted.

“The police did not tell us at the time what had been happening, so when it came out in court we were all truly shocked.

“They all deserve to be behind bars for a very long time.”

One of the three Appeal Court judges, Lady Justice Rafferty, said the original sentencing judge at Sheffield Crown Court, Peter Kelson QC, had not ‘fallen into error’ in what was a ‘difficult sentencing exercise’.

She said ‘mercifully’ such cases come before the courts ‘relatively seldom’.

But Mr Blunkett told The Star society needs to ‘make it clear’ that crime against anyone with learning difficulties is ‘intolerable’.

“This is about sending very clear signals and, where aggravated crime has occurred, to make sure the punishment really does fit,” he said.

“I felt appalled and deeply upset when I first heard about this case, and deeply upset it should have happened at all, particularly in our community.”

Speaking after yesterday’s hearing, Mr Grieve said: “This was a shocking case of exploitation of a vulnerable man by a family who abused and assaulted him on a regular basis.

“Mr Kinsella was tricked and trapped by people who posed as his friends and employers. In reality they were manipulative and exploited him.

“He lived in David Rooke’s garage in appalling conditions and the abuse came to light only when the police were called.

“But I entirely accept the decision of the court.”


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