A VULNERABLE PENSIONER who has learning difficulties was the victim of a con coolly carried out by Maria Miller, 65, of Simmons Lane Chingford – who is now going to jail for her cruel exploitation of her victim.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that the story of abuse began seven years ago, when Ms Miller first met her elderly victim outside a pet shop. She chatted to her and invited her to volunteer in her charity shop – before then persuading her to move into her own home.
Once the victim was living in her home, Ms Miller made her do gardening and cleaning out animals before letting her come into the house and have a meal. Ms Miller did not provide meals every day and also forced her victim to sleep on the floor in an outhouse – and the victim lost a significant amount of weight under this regime.
It was not until three years ago that the victim – by then in her 70s – managed to run away and report the abuse to the police. They arrested Ms Miller after investigating the allegations for a month. Ms Miller then spent four months on bail before being charged.
Ms Miller was found guilty of two counts of holding another person in slavery or servitude and one count of theft at a hearing on 21st June. She returned to Snaresbrook Crown Court on 30th August, where she was sentenced to two sentences of three years for the slavery and servitude offences and a further year for theft. All sentences are to run concurrently.
Detective Sergeant James Earle, who led the investigation, responded to the sentence, saying, “Miller targeted one of society’s most vulnerable and the sentence received today reflects the gravity of her actions. This was a long and challenging investigation but we are pleased that Miller has now been brought to justice. We know that the victim will never forget the years she spent in constant fear but we hope that she has some closure now Miller is behind bars.
“Her bravery in coming forward to police and reliving some of the worst experiences of her life in court is testament to her strength of character and we hope this sends out a message that the Met will seek to bring the strongest charges for such shocking criminal conduct where appropriate.”