St Albans traveller warned he faces jail after guilty verdict for modern day slavery offences

St Albans Crown Court

St Albans Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A ‘significant’ prison sentence is likely to be passed on a traveller convicted today of modern day slavery offences.

St Albans Crown Court Judge Andrew Bright warned Johnny Moloney aka Murphy, 30, of Watford Road, St Albans, that he was likely to face a lengthy period behind bars when he was sentenced on Friday.

Moloney had picked homeless alcoholic Cameron Biggar off the streets of London with a promise of work and accommodation in 2004. But soon after the alcoholic Scotsman got into Moloney’s car in the The Strand, he found himself caught up in a living nightmare.

During the week-long trial, the jury was told that Mr Biggar had been forced to carry out unpaid block paving and building work, live in a camper van and sheds with a bucket as a toilet and was taken all over the country and overseas to work.

After the high profile arrest of a family of travellers in Leighton Buzzard in 2011 for modern day slavery offences, Mr Biggar said he was paid £30 a day.

His plight came to light when he made a 999 call on Christmas Day 2014 and the police arrived to find him in a camper van at the house in Watford Road.

Moloney and his wife Shanon Loveridge, 22, were arrested several months later and made no comment in police interviews. During the trial Shanon Loveridge was found not guilty on the direction of the judge of the same charges she and her husband had pleaded not guilty to - knowingly holding a person in slavery or servitude and knowingly requiring another person to perform forced labour in St Albans between April 2010 and December 2014.

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Under cross examination by Lewis Power, for Moloney, this week, Mr Biggar admitted he had 19 convictions for 47 offences including burglary, theft, affray and causing actual bodily harm.

He agreed he had been made to feel welcome when he arrived at the Moloney family home.

But prosecutor Peter Shaw had told the court that Mr Biggar had been kept in servitude from 2004 - the charges began in 2010 when an Act of Parliament came into effect.

Fairly soon after being taken to the house, Mr Biggar had escaped but was allegedly tracked down by Johnny Moloney. The prosecutor said: “When he was asked why he never came to the police at an earlier stage, he said he was in fear of violence from them if he did. He was afraid that he would be searched for an hurt. He had been threatened to be beaten if he left.”