Couple face jail after keeping housemate as slave in 'Harry Potter cupboard'


A couple are facing jail after being found guilty of keeping a housemate as a slave and forcing him to live in a cupboard under the stairs “like Harry Potter”. 

Ion Boboc, 26 and Christiana Tudor-Dobre, 24, were convicted at Bristol Crown Court in the UK after the court heard that Gabriel Nicolae, 31, was made to drink out of an outside hosepipe and use the woods to go to the toilet. 

Mr Nicolae was made to eat spicy food and ordered to dance and carry out physical challenges, as well as having eggs and flour thrown at him. 

Despite working full-time at an abattoir, Mr Nicolae was given just enough money to buy his bus tickets and around $1.80 a day for biscuits.

Christiana Tudor-Dobre, 24, and Ion Boboc, 26, face jail time. Source: Avon and Somerset Police

The court heard that he used the cupboard under the stairs as a bedroom like “the boy wizard Harry Potter”.

Documents such as his ID card, bank card, financial papers, and multiple phone contracts were in a bedroom used by Boboc and Tudor-Dobre. 

The jury also heard that the victim was filmed carrying out tasks set by the defendants.

Mr Nicolae eventually revealed that he would have to wash his clothes in the town centre and was not allowed to eat or wash inside the house, with no use of the kitchen.

Ben Samples, from the Crown Prosecution Service, praised Mr Nicolae for providing evidence and supporting the prosecution despite his treatment.

The room where Gabriel Nicolae, 31, slept and Mr Nicolae washing his clothes. Source: Avon and Somerset Police

“I would also like to thank the members of the public who contacted the police with their concerns,” Mr Samples said.  

“Modern slavery often takes place out of sight, and it is only with the support of such witnesses that we will defeat it in the UK.

Mr Nicolae washing his dishes. Source: Avon and Somerset Police

“Finally, I would like to give credit to Avon and Somerset Police, who acted swiftly following the report and built a strong case against the defendants, working in partnership with the CPS South West Complex Case Unit.”

The pair will be sentenced in March.

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