Threats of backyard burial: alleged slave

·2-min read

A woman allegedly held as a slave and abused by a Melbourne couple says she never told her children because she didn't want them to be ashamed.

The woman feared she would die in the home of the Mount Waverley couple who are standing trial in Victoria's Supreme Court, accused of possessing her as a slave between 2007 and 2015.

The Tamil woman told investigators the wife had threatened to bury her body in the backyard, telling her "no one would know if I bury you here".

A jury is being played videos of interviews the woman, now in her 60s, gave to investigators from hospital in 2015.

She was taken by ambulance after collapsing in the couple's home, and had to be admitted to intensive care to be treated for sepsis and diabetes.

Through an interpreter she said she was often beaten by the wife, had boiling water and tea poured on her and food thrown at her.

"She will say curries not nice and then she will throw it on me, and I can't take a shower every day," she said, adding that she was only allowed to bathe weekly.

She said she was often beaten and kicked by the woman, and once the wife cut her wrist with a kitchen knife because she wasn't chopping vegetables fast enough.

The wife put her fingers in the woman's mouth and began pushing vegetables in too, telling her "eat, eat", the woman said.

While the woman got to speak to her family on the phone, she said she never told them of the abuse because the wife sat next to her while she spoke to them.

She also said she didn't want her children to be ashamed.

"How can I say what's happening here? I came here to make some money respectfully but even if I go back I can't help," she said.

"Then my kids will be ashamed. Just have to leave it here."

As well as threatening to bury her in the backyard, she said the wife also told her son-in-law that she would send her dead body home to India in a coffin.

The woman described herself as "fat" when she first arrived in Australia, and as having a "beautiful set of teeth".

Her teeth fell out and she needed dentures after just a couple of years in Australia.

When she was admitted to hospital in July 2015 she was emaciated and weighed only 40kg.