Farzana Kausar held a vulnerable woman in domestic servitude for seven years, taking control of her finances, cutting her off from her family and forcing her to cook, clean and care for her children.
On Wednesday (December 21), she was jailed for six years and eight months having been convicted of keeping a person in slavery and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Kausar, 58, of Selden Road in Worthing, gradually trapped her victim – a vulnerable 62-year-old woman – over a period of 16 years through a campaign of physical and psychological abuse.
She would move her between properties in Sussex and London, forcing her to look after her young children, cook for the family, clean their home and complete other household chores.
Kausar would accompany her victim to all medical appointments, insisting that she was her carer and had her best wishes at heart.
Kausar also took full control of her victim’s finances, opened bank accounts in her name - from which she withdrew money - and made benefit claims on her behalf that she also kept for herself.
Her victim’s bank accounts were used to pay bills from across Kausar’s property empire and her name was used to register Kausar’s car for disabled use – allowing her to dodge road tax and park in disabled bays.
Police were alerted in May 2019, when a nanny who had been employed to support Kausar’s family noticed one of the helpers was treated differently. She was subjected to abuse, seemed to be carrying out most of the household chores and appeared to be living at the address.
She informed Adult Social Services, who reported it to Sussex Police, explain that “something didn’t feel quite right” about the situation she had witnessed.
Officers visited the address and found all of the victim’s belongings were in black bin bags, while she was forced to sleep in the children’s bedroom.
She had no access to her ID documents, passport or bank cards. These were found in a locked room, along with financial documents made out in her name related to addresses to which she had no connection.
Kausar was arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences and assault and released on conditional bail while the enquiry continued.
Her victim was housed in Brighton and Hove and was supported by social services.
But shortly after, she disappeared. Her phone numbers were disconnected, she left her GP and made no contact with any support services.
She only resurfaced when the officer in charge of the case received a letter, seemingly from the victim, retracting her allegations and claiming it was all an elaborate set-up by the informant to get Kausar into trouble.
Police, alongside partner agencies, were able to trace the victim to an address in London in May, 2020.
It was revealed the letter had been written under duress. The victim had been forced to write it by Farzana Kausar in an attempt to cover up her crimes.
The hoax letter
The victim was freed for a second time and placed in safe accommodation, while Kausar was further arrested for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
On Thursday, October 13, a jury took just three hours to find Kausar guilty of keeping a person in slavery/servitude and perverting the course of justice.
Her victim remains in the care of health services.
In addition to Kausar’s prison sentence, her assets have been restricted and a financial investigation is underway to determine a level of compensation to be owed.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Josh Bellamy said: “Over the course of 16 years, Farzana Kausar steadily deprived her victim of her own liberty and the very freedoms that one takes for granted. Kausar’s actions depended on the vulnerability and desperation of her victim, a person who had originally come to Kausar for refuge.
“The victim in this investigation would have remained hidden, trapped in a cycle of abuse and control, had it not been for the actions of the nanny employed to work for Kausar.
“By spotting the signs of modern slavery, trusting her gut and speaking out about what she had witnessed, officers were able to intervene and protect a vulnerable woman worn down by years of abuse.
“The abuse inflicted by Kausar on her victim will have a life-long impact and its effects will never truly fade. Today’s sentence reflects the severity of such abuse and the importance of speaking out when things ‘don’t appear quite right’.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Simon Morgan, said: “This is a truly insidious and pernicious crime. Farzana Kausar consciously and wilfully exploited her victim, and over these long years of domestic servitude she built up her chains of control.
“These invisible shackles served to bind her victim to work without payment or allow access to the freedoms, rights and benefits to which she was entitled. Kausar instead callously diverted them for her own gain and would have continued to do so.
“Modern slavery is often a hidden crime and something all society should be vigilant in recognising and reporting. This is an important case for Sussex Police, and we hope to continue to bring justice for more victims of this crime in the future and achieve similarly robust sentences.
“I would like to praise the determination, bravery and patience of the victim, who supported this investigation over the last few years, allowing us to bring this case to court and achieve this sentence today. She is now free to live without fear of exploitation and abuse.
“I would also like to thank the key witnesses, especially our initial informant, who has shown resolve and bravery in both her actions and her continuous support.
“The sentence today should provide a suitable deterrent and warning to those who may consider perpetrating this type of exploitation in the future.”