A wealthy Hove landlady has been jailed for more than six years for keeping a vulnerable woman as a slave and then trying to pervert the course of justice.
Farzana Kausar, 58, of Adelaide Crescent, Hove, was jailed at Lewes Crown Court today (Wednesday 21 December) by Judge Christine Laing, the honorary recorder of Brighton and Hove.
Kausar punched, kicked and verbally abused Jacqueline Whittington, 60, and kept her in slavery to cook, clean and look after her family.
Ryan Richter, prosecuting, told the court that Mrs Whittington’s health had collapsed since the jury unanimously found Kausar guilty in October after a three-week trial at Lewes.
Kausar, who also lived in Selden Road, Worthing, had known Mrs Whittington since the early 1990s, telling her initially that she was like a sister.
But Kausar, also known as Fuzana Khan, kept Mrs Whittington in “domestic servitude” for years, controlling much of what she did.
She even tried to persuade Mrs Whittington to have the case dropped. As a result, she was jailed for a further eight months, to be served consecutively, for trying to pervert justice
Alexia Power, defending, said that Kausar had saved Mrs Whittington’s life by stopping her from drinking White Lightning cider.
The court was told that Mrs Whittington was an alcoholic and that Kausar rationed her to a bottle of white wine a day.
She was forced to carry out household chores and look after three young children but did not receive any money while Kausar kept Mrs Whittington’s benefits money, bank card and passport.
The landlady, who owned several properties in Brighton, Worthing and London, became increasingly controlling and abusive, often flying into a rage.
Kausar damaged Mrs Whittington’s ankle by slamming a car door on it. On another occasion, she attacked the mother of four, smashing her glasses into her face, causing cuts, and ripped off her necklace.
The alarm was eventually raised by the family’s nanny, Michelle Ormiston, who had also been hired to help with the children. After seeing the “shocking” way the live-in helper was treated she alerted social services and the police.
Judge Laing told Kausar: “No sentence can undo the harm done to Jacqueline Whittington, the harm done to her relationships with her own family and the years and years of being deprived of being able to live her own life in her own way.
“You had a wholly conceited disregard for her as a person … she was completely enmeshed in a life of drudgery controlled by you.
“You subjected her to regular physical violence – slapping and punching, pinching and hair pulling.
“There was regular verbal abuse and you intimidated and belittled her … keeping her in constant fear of a violent outburst from you.”
The judge said that Mrs Whittington had worked long and hard for Kausar but was not given decent accommodation, adding: “You controlled every aspect of that poor woman’s life, even limiting the amount of time that she could watch television.”
Not only was Mrs Whittington not paid, the judge said, but you kept her benefits payments and made financial commitments in her name, adding: “You regarded her as a chattel to be used by you as you wished.
“The option of leaving for good would have been one of destitution and misery. She was vulnerable, degraded and intimidated.
“Your exploitation of her deprived her of the will to leave and the ability to do so. Her life has been destroyed and you have played the major part in that.”
The judge said that Kausar had put her oldest daughter into the witness box to lie on oath to try to protect her – and that “says much about you”.
Kausar was jailed for six years and eight months, ordered not to contact Mrs Whittington or Miss Ormiston ever again and told that financial investigators would seek to recover the profits of her crime.
Judge Laing recommended Miss Ormiston for a £500 High Sheriff’s award because “she took action that brought this situation to an end”.