Hannah Debenham, 42, invited the mother and her ten-year-old daughter to live with them in Uckfield, East Sussex, after coming to an arrangement over babysitting – but the refugee called the police
A Ukrainian refugee reported a mother who took her in for modern day slavery after asking the guest to do the dishes following their meal.
NHS nurse Hannah Debenham called it the worst experience of her life after being subjected to a traumatic two-month investigation.
The family were only too happy to re-home the victims of their country’s on-going war with Russia at their property in Uckfield, East Sussex, this summer.
But police were called after a complaint was lodged by the unnamed female refugee.
The case was finally dropped this week when no evidence was found, and the traumatised 42-year-old says the probe could have seen her career crumble.
The parent has told how she was asked to ‘voluntarily’ attend Eastbourne police station in late July.
The mum-of-two was then grilled by a modern-day slavery inspector, it has been reported, before her husband was called in by cops.
Mr Debenham has now warned Brits to ‘think twice’ before opening up their homes following her painful experience.
She says she there was “no gratitude, no care and no respect” shown to her by the women they took in.
“It was just devastating, we just wanted to help – if I was charged I would have had to declare that and it would have been a permanent impediment to my career,” she told MailOnline.
“They also spoke to my husband and told him that I could face life in prison if I was found guilty.
“I’ve been an NHS mental health specialist for 15 years and I have often worked with people with severe mental illness supporting their needs in police custody, and this happening to me was the worst experience of my life.”
Sussex Police Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Patch told the publication defended his force’s decision to investigate.
According to the police report, she was ‘expected to clear up and tidy up the house for little to no money under the disguise of the Ukrainian settlement scheme’.
The Ukrainian, who claimed she was also an English teacher, and the family made contact after Mr Debenham found her profile online.
An agreement was reached that would allow the woman and her daughter, 10, to stay with them on the basis that she would perform babysitting duties three days a week. For this, she would be paid £200.
She was ‘made to work most days, looking after the children and expected to clear up and tidy up the house’, the police report added.
Detective Chief Inspector Patch says the force’s investigation was concluded as quickly as possible.
A Sussex Police statement read: “Sussex Police received a report on July 20 of a person being required to perform forced or compulsory labour. The informant was a woman with a young daughter who had arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
“On July 26, a woman from Uckfield, who had offered to host the pair, was invited to attend a voluntary interview at Eastbourne police station with her solicitor on August 16. She was not arrested.
“Following that interview, the informant was approached on several occasions to provide a full statement, but was not willing to assist with further enquiries or to provide a formal account.
“As a result, it was judged that there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution and no further action would be taken. The woman’s solicitor was advised the same day of the decision.”
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