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Wealthy Connors family members jailed for the exploitation of vulnerable men


A family who lived a luxurious lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable men forced to work for a pittance have been given jail sentences.

Head of the family William "Billy" Connors (52) was locked up for six-and-a-half years by a judge who condemned him for the "rich financial rewards" he had enjoyed, and for corrupting his family.

Wife Mary "Brida" Connors (48) was jailed for 27 months, meaning she will almost certainly be released immediately because of the time she has served on remand.

The couple's two sons, Johnny (29) and Jimmy (20) were sentenced to four years in prison, and three years in a young offender institution, respectively.

The fifth member of the family, son-in-law Miles "Miley" Connors (24) was jailed for three years.

The family – whose assets include plots of land at a travellers' site at Kirk Lane, in Enderby – were convicted of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour between April 2010 and March 2011 at a hearing last week.

Family members sat in the public gallery and wept as Judge Michael Longman jailed the five.

Addressing William Connors, the judge said the exploitation of vulnerable men had brought the defendant "rich financial rewards".

The judge told Mary Connors she had enjoyed the spoils generated by her family's crimes.

The Connors picked up men – often homeless drifters or addicts – to work for them as labourers.

The victims lived in squalid caravans on traveller sites as they moved around the country working in the Connors' paving and patio businesses.

Their work was arduous and unrelenting, and they were controlled by discipline and violence.

They were paid as little as £5 for a day's hard labour on jobs which would earn the family several thousands pounds.

Meanwhile, the Connors enjoyed exotic holidays, drove top-of-the-range cars and built up a valuable property portfolio, and their bank accounts contained more than £500,000.

Police began investigating the Connors following the discovery of the body of a worker in 2008.

The enterprise came to an end when police raided sites in Enderby, Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire in March last year.

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