Outrage following Baker sentencing

Keith Baker.
Keith Baker.

There has been outrage following Tuesday’s sentencing of Keith and Caroline Baker who kept a vulnerable womean a virtual prisoner after she disappeared from her home in England eight years ago.

Keith Baker was sentenced to 15 years in jail and a further five years on licence after his release, Judge Patrick Lynch QC described the 61-year-old as a “Svengali-type figure” whose wife was a “pawn doing his bidding”.

His 54-year-old wife Caroline received a three-year sentence, 18 months of which will be spent in jail, with the remainder on licence.

Mandy Highfield, who had also lived with Keith Baker and was the mother of four of his children, raised the alarm. She spoke on the BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan Show saying: “He was raping me for 13 years and I couldn’t tell anyone about it.”

She also said: “They are sick people,they are scum to me, they shouldn’t be on this earth. I hate him and I hate her.”

One caller who phoned in to the show felt this case was ‘indicitive of our society’ adding that ‘We do not care enough for people with learning disabilities. How could this even happen.’

However, some callers were more outspoken saying ‘This is horrendous, these people are animals, how can a human being be treated this way.’ Another added: ‘That man should never get out.’

One of the most outspoken was an emotional Mary Hamilton, a DUP Alderman with Derry City and Strabane District who said Baker should be ‘castrated’.

Councillor Hamilton added: “I am in tears listening to this, I am totally disgusted. They both should get life and life should mean life.

“Treatment in prison is far too lenient, he should be tortured in the way he tortured that poor girl. he should be castrated, I know that is taking away his human rights but he took away that poor girl’s human rights.”

DUP Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart and Jonathan Buckley also commented on the court case and Ms Lockhart said: “The Baker’s have been sentenced to prison for a catalogue of callous, obscene and heinous crimes. They carried them out against a vulnerable women in unthinkable living conditions.

“Yesterday a sentence was handed down for the calculated way in which they carried out their depraved acts over a sustained period of time. This is due to the bravery of those who came forward to report the crimes and the PSNI who investigated the crimes committed.

“This story has rocked the community of Craigavon and further afield. No such activity should be part of modern day society.

“It is now of paramount importance that the victims receive proper support in the future, as they try to rebuild their lives after such despicable, inhumane treatment and sustained sexual, physical and emotional abuse.”