Charity boss, 64, kept pensioner, 74, as a slave for four years
Cat charity boss, 64, forced wom
Cat charity boss, 64, forced woman, 74, to do her chores and eat pet food while she wore designer clothes and drank Champagne during brutal four years she kept pensioner as a slave
- Maria Miller, 64, invited the pensioner to live with her in east London in 2012
- The victim, who cannot be named, was often locked out at night and ate cat food
- Pensioner ran away three times and asked friend for help before being rescued
Maria Miller, 64, is facing jail after being found guilty of enslaving a 74-year-old pensioner with learning difficulties
A cat charity boss who enslaved an elderly woman with learning difficulties and forced her to sleep outside and eat pet food is facing jail.
Maria Miller, 64, first invited the pensioner, 74, to live with her in her home in Chingford, east London, in January 2012.
Miller then forced the woman to perform menial chores in her home and shop and beg on the streets for money, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
She also emptied the pensioner's bank account and spent the money on designer clothes, cars and holidays.
Police investigating the case found lavish spending by Miller, including a room stuffed full of designer clothes and bottles of champagne.
The victim was often locked out at night and forced to go to the bathroom in the garden.
On many occasions she was so hungry she resorted to eating cat and dog food.
She also emptied the pensioner's bank account and spent the money on designer clothes, cars and holidays
Miller befriended the pensioner when she was a volunteer at the cat orphanage she ran.
The victim, who cannot be named, did not realise she was being exploited and thought she was helping her friend care for the animals.
The exploitation came to light after the pensioner ran away for the third time in June 2016 and asked a friend for help, who contacted social services.
When police searched Miller's home, they found a will which showed the victim had left everything to her.
Miller also wouldn't let the woman have access to a phone, money or even her own pension.
Miller denied but was convicted of two counts of holding in slavery and servitude and one count of theft.
She was cleared of one count of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Miller will return for sentence at the same court on July 31.
The exploitation came to light after the pensioner ran away for the third time in June 2016 and asked a friend for help, who contacted social services
Richard Heatley, from CPS London North, said: 'This was an appalling case of modern slavery where a kind and vulnerable woman was manipulated and exploited for a number of years.
'The victim thought she was helping her friend with chores and charity work but in actual fact she was being exploited in the most appalling way.
'Miller denied any wrongdoing and said that she had taken control of the victim's finances because otherwise the victim would hand her money out to strangers she just met.
'Modern slavery has a devastating, lasting impact on its victims. The CPS is working in partnership with the police and other criminal justice partners to build robust cases and deliver justice for victims.'
Metropolitan police detective sergeant Ellie Jones said: 'I am very pleased that the long investigation into this matter has brought about justice for the victim.
'Miller targeted one of society's most vulnerable with the motivation of financial gain, and in doing so treated her with an appalling level of inhumaneness.
Miller denied but was convicted of two counts of holding in slavery and servitude and one count of theft at Snaresbrook Crown Court. She will return for sentence at the same court on July 31
'The result will never be able to bring back almost five years of the victim's life, during which she had her independence and liberty taken away from her and lived in almost constant fear, with no say about what she did, whether she worked, where she went, where she slept or what or whether she ate. However, I hope she is able to find closure as a result.
'She is an incredibly strong woman who has shown amazing bravery and resilience in coming forward to police and going through the difficult process of reliving her traumatic experiences in the court room, and she is now thriving in her new found freedom and independence.
'I hope this sends out a message that the MPS will not tolerate such treatment of the vulnerable and will seek to bring the strongest charges for such shocking criminal conduct where appropriate.
'I would also like to put on record my thanks for those from our partner agencies who assisted in the investigation and were integral in bringing Miller to justice.'