Slaveowner jailed after captives escape to Forest Gate police station

David Lupu was sentenced to seven years in prison for modern slavery offences. Picture: Met Police

David Lupu was sentenced to seven years in prison for modern slavery offences. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

A Romanian who enslaved 15 men in cramped conditions after enticing them to the UK with promises of well-paid work has been jailed.

David Lupu, 29, was today sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of seven charges of holding a person in slavery or servitude after a five-week trial.

He was brought to justice after two of his captives sought help at Forest Gate police station in September last year, while he was briefly out of the country.

Lupu offered his countrymen £50 a day with accommodation to come to Britain, only to confiscate their ID papers and pay them next to nothing while he monitored their every move.

The men were also told they would have to pay hundreds of pounds for permits and certificates to work in the UK.

In total, 15 slept were living in the property, which comprised of two one-bedroom flats in Leyton, Waltham Forest.

At night there were not enough beds to sleep on so some of them resorted to using mattresses they had found in the street.

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Lupu, meanwhile, had his own spacious rooms.

While he stuffed himself with good food, he bought cheap, low quality food for the others, leaving them gaunt and disheveled, Inner London Crown Court heard.

They were only allowed out of the house two at a time, and warned police would arrest them if discovered.

The men were also told they owed hundreds of pounds in rent and other exaggerated costs and were forced to work long hours on a demolition site to ‘repay’ the money.

In fact, Lupu pocketed large fees for their labour and could still have made a profits if he had paid lawful wages.

The men started work on the site in Lancaster Gate on August 14 but had received no money by the end of the month.

When they confronted Lupu about what he was doing, he threatened to beat them to death.

He later relented, giving them each £50 – the only money they ever received.

A few days later, Lupu travelled to Romania and two of the victims took the chance to escape.

Officers raided the property in Lindley Road on September 6 and arrested Lupu.

He answered “no comment” to all questions put to him.

Lupu was also handed a slavery and trafficking prevention order and ordered to pay compensation to his victims.