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Indian couple allegedly kept ‘slave’ for eight years, mentally and physically abused her

Sep 12, 2017
AN ALLEGED slave was held captive by an evil and brutal woman who treated her worse than an unwanted dog.

Kumuthuni Kannan, 53, and her husband Kandasamy Kannan, 50, have been charged with possessing a slave and exercising ownership over the woman, who cannot be identified.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard it was Mrs Kannan whom the frail 52-year old feared the most.

Police allege the woman was held captive for eight years and was close to death when she was eventually freed.

She had first come to Australia from India in 2007 under the promise of earning $143 per month to perform domestic duties and look after the couple’s three kids.

By the time her ordeal came to an end in August 2015, Commonwealth prosecutor Fiona McLeod SC estimated the woman had been dudded more than $240,000.

The woman’s ordeal only ended after she collapsed in a pool of her own urine — toothless, malnourished and delirious.

She later told federal agents that her oafish captors had held her captive and forced her to work from 5.30am to 3am the following day.

Ms McLeod said the woman would only get about an hour of sleep per night.

She described Mrs Kannan as a heartless brute, who relentlessly tormented her elderly captive.

Commonwealth prosecutor Fiona McLeod SC estimated the ‘slave’ had been dudded more than $240,000.
The court heard the woman spent an entire month locked in the couple’s house while they went on holiday.

Mrs Kannan was seen repeatedly laughing while her alleged slave gave evidence via video link in court on Monday.

The woman told police Mrs Kannan hit and slapped her with knives and frozen produce.

She would pull her hair, kick her and mentally torment the woman.

On one occasion she told her that her daughter “should be a prostitute” and allegedly abused her worried son-in-law when her family in India became concerned for her welfare.

It was the same son-in-law who unwittingly arranged for the woman to “work” for the alleged slavers in Australia.

The court heard the alleged slave was thrown a few bucks on her birthday and provided a couple of scarfs from the couple.

Her belongings over her alleged years of slavery fit into a single suitcase.

She told police Mr Kannan refused to stop his abusive wife, but would sometimes ask if she was OK behind her back.

Ms McLeod said the woman was not allowed to wear shoes, was covered in ulcers and too tired to even eat.

She was unable to go home to India because she had not only outstayed her Visa, but was told she needed to pay for the airline tickets.

In her final year of captivity, Ms McLeod claimed Mrs Kannan locked the woman out of her house at 2am in the freezing cold.

She had told her slave to go to the shops and fetch her kids yoghurt.

The woman spent two hours in the cold and was brutalised on being allowed back in.

When Mrs Kannan’s husband tried to intervene, he was told to mind his own business, Ms McLeod said.

Mrs Kannan’s barrister Dr Gideon Boas tried desperately to hide his client’s name from the public, arguing her children would be embarrassed at school.

He said his client vehemently denied the allegations and claimed the alleged slave “wanted for nothing”.

He said the woman was loved by Mrs Kannan’s family and that “all of her needs were met”.

The preliminary hearing, which will determine if the pair go to trial, continues.


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