Armagh couple deny assaulting mentally disabled woman

Caroline and Keith Baker allegedly kept the woman captive in their former home for years

Keith Baker arrives at Craigavon Court charged with a catalogue of offences against a mentally disabled woman. Photograph: Pacemaker

Keith Baker arrives at Craigavon Court charged with a catalogue of offences against a mentally disabled woman. Photograph: Pacemaker

Fri, Aug 8, 2014, 01:01

A Co Armagh husband and wife have denied a catalogue of offences against a mentally disabled woman whom they allegedly kept captive in their former home for years.

In the dock at Craigavon Crown Court for an arraignment hearing yesterday were Caroline Baker (52) and her husband Keith Baker (57), whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry jail. He was wheeled into court flanked by three prison officers.

He sat in his wheelchair outside the dock in his slippers throughout the duration of the hearing.

The couple are jointly charged with five counts, between March 15th, 2004, and December 20th, 2012, including falsely imprisoning the woman, engaging in sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder, indecent assault, inciting a person with a mental disorder to engage in sexual activity and false imprisonment to commit sexual offences.

Mr Baker also denied six charges of rape, while his wife denied three charges of aiding and abetting her husband to rape the alleged victim.

Previous court hearings heard claims that by “exerting manipulation and control”, the couple had managed to keep the vulnerable woman prisoner in squalid conditions, while at the same time subjecting her to sexual abuse.

Psychiatric assessment

Toby Hedworth QC, prosecuting, said the woman was “currently undergoing further psychiatric assessment’’.

He also told Judge Patrick Lynch QC that the prosecution was not seeking to proceed with the trial date of October 6th at this stage as it was “not appropriate’’.

However, he added that “at a guesstimate” the trial could last three to four weeks when it did get under way.

Martin O’Rourke QC, for Ms Baker, said that he would be seeking medical records from England relating to the alleged victim.

Judge Lynch also kept in a place a reporting restriction which banned publication of Ms Baker’s current home address and any photographs of her.

The press prohibition will be reviewed on September 11th when Judge Lynch will hear submissions from her defence team and also legal representatives of the media.