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Wife and lover from Bognor Regis jailed for enslaving disabled husband in filthy conditions | UK News

A woman and her partner have been jailed for 11 years for enslaving her disabled husband in squalid conditions where he was often left malnourished in his own urine and faeces.

Sarah Somerset-How, 49, and George Webb, 40, were convicted of holding Tom Somerset-How in slave-like conditions and three counts of ill treatment by a care worker.

Webb’s temper was described by the victim as like a “nuclear bomb” during the trial at Portsmouth Crown Court and he was also convicted of causing actual bodily harm.

The pair, from Bognor Regis in West Sussex, abused and exploited Mr Somerset-How and left him malnourished and stuck in bed.

The victim uses an wheelchair and has cerebral palsy.

The abuse was discovered by a friend and Mr Somerset-How’s sister, an actress who’s been in Holby City and Silent Witness.

Mr Somerset-How told the court he was shocked to find out his wife and Webb had a “five-year plan” to exploit him. He said they “despised” him.

“The extent of the betrayal was hard to bear for a long time,” he said in a victim impact statement.

“I felt I was just being kept alive, when the reality sank in, this really was my life, I wanted to end it all, I couldn’t even manage that.”

Image:
Mr Somerset-How was left bed bound by his abusers. Pic: Sussex Police

He said before he met his wife he had a career, friends and a “great life”, but when Mr Webb entered their lives as his live-in carer in 2016 all that stopped.

He said he was unable to explain to his family what was happening, but finally revealed his abuse in August 2020.

Disability mocked as ‘like ET’

“I thought it was better they stay away, protect them from George and the nuclear bomb that was his anger,” his statement said.

The judge, William Ashworth, praised Mr Somerset-How’s bravery and described the grim conditions he endured.

“[He] was held in slavery for at least two years and eight months, kept in bed, deprived of adequate food or water, kept away from his family with the curtains drawn, frequently in his own urine and excrement, unwashed and unkempt.”

Tom Somerset-How with his family outside court
Image:
Tom Somerset-How with his family outside court

He added: “He was denigrated by the defendants and humiliated and his requests to go to the toilet scorned.”

He said the defendants had mocked his disability and compared him to the alien in ET.

Webb was employed to look after Mr Somerset-How – but ended up conspiring with his wife.

“Texts from the defendants’ mobile phones showed they had become involved in a sexual relationship and intentionally neglected their victim to take drugs and plan nights away,” said a Sussex Police spokesperson.

Mr Somerset-How said that while the guilty verdicts wouldn’t undo the psychological damage, it would help him move forward in life.

The defendants were found not guilty of fraud and theft.

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