Inside squalid home where evil couple kept slave for years

Inside the squalid room where an evil couple kept a grandmother as a slave earning $3 a day for years – before she was found weighing 40kg in a pool of urine with GANGRENE and no teeth

  • Cruel and cramped conditions where a domestic slave was kept are revealed    
  • The victim vanished for eight years until found when she collapsed in the house 
  • The couple who exploited the grandmother have both been sentenced to jail 

Banking tech guru Kandasamy Kannan was found guilty of intentionally possessing the woman as a slave between July 2007 and July 2015

The ramshackle bedroom where an Indian grandmother was held as a domestic slave and only allowed to sleep one hour a night has been revealed for the first time since her evil captors were sentenced to prison.

Husband and wife Kandasamy and Kumuthini Kannan were found guilty in April of intentionally possessing and using the vulnerable Indian woman as a slave between July 2007 and July 2015.

The hideous crime against humanity was only uncovered after the emancipated victim was found by emergency workers lying in a pool of her own urine weighing just 40kg and suffering from gangrene.

When she was rushed to hospital the horrific extent of her long history of abuse at the hands of the cruel couple was finally revealed.

The 67-year-old had been doused in boiling water on occasions, beaten and forced to prepare meals and clean the Kannans’ Glen Waverley home, in Melbourne’s east, for just three dollars a day.

Husband and wife Kandasamy and Kumuthini Kannan (pictured) were found guilty in April of intentionally possessing and using the vulnerable Indian woman as a slave between July 2007 and July 2015

Cruel and cramped: The small bedroom where an Indian grandmother was held as a domestic slave in Melbourne 

Video and images show the squalid conditions in the small room where she was kept.

Boxes of food and other junk completely cover the top bunk as well as the rest of the room. 

An ironing board can be seen in the cramped room about one metre away from the woman’s bed and the backyard is scattered with litter and debris. 

Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling, who leads the Australian Federal Police’s Victorian Human Exploitation team, called the chilling case one of the ‘worst’ examples of modern slavery she’s come across.

‘She’d been laying on the floor for quite a period of time before finally she was taken to a hospital and admitted under a false name,’ she told News Corp.

‘She had untreated diabetes, she had gangrene in her feet … she had no teeth. There was evidence of beatings, of things being thrown at her, boiling water.’ 

Husband and wife Kandasamy and Kumuthini Kannan held the woman in the bedroom (pictured) between July 2007 and July 2015

Ringleader Kumuthini Kannan during her last day of freedom last month. She remained a remorseless slaver up until she was sentenced

Detective Superintendent Crossling said although the case may appear to be a one-off that rarely occurs in Australia, the horrific crime is far more common than most Aussies might think and can often ‘hide in plain sight’ in the suburbs.

In fact, in the past financial year, federal police responded to over 200 reports of modern slavery on Australian shores.

‘We want Australians to know that unfortunately these sorts of crimes that you imagine happen in different parts of the world are actually happening here. It’s not a one off.’

The victim in this case was particularly vulnerable because she was illiterate in her own language and couldn’t understand English.

The 67-year-old victim was forced to prepare meals and clean the Kannan’s Glen Waverley home, in Melbourne’s east, for just three dollars a day

Sickening footage released by the AFP shows the filthy conditions the slave lived in

To make things even worse, the Kannans had essentially cut off all her contact with her family back in India. 

The woman’s expired passport was also stolen by the couple, making it impossible for her to leave.

Supreme Court of Victoria Justice John Champion earlier this month in Melbourne condemned Kumuthini – the ringleader of the crime – to eight years behind bars, with a non-parole period of just four years.

Her husband was sentenced to six years, with a non-parole period of three years – five years less than his slave was held captive. 

Kandasamy Kannan had enjoyed months of additional freedom even after being found guilty

Their identities had been hidden for years after they successfully argued for a court-imposed gag order. 

The wicked couple had wanted to protect their young children from the shame of being the spawn of devilish slavers. 

Until the sentencing hearing, their father had remained free in the community after he successfully argued in June for the second time that someone needed to look after their autistic teens. 

Kumuthini, who was locked up then, learned her fate via a videolink from her new home at Dame Phyliss Frost Centre. 

Dressed in white prison garb, the 53-year old rocked back and forth in her chair as her fate was read aloud to more than 180 people via a live stream.  

Kumuthini had been painted as the cruel slave keeper, who dominated over her pathetic husband and their slave. 

In delivering a long and self-serving sentence that dragged on for more than two hours and required a rest break, Justice Champion went into graphic detail about the horrendous condition the slave had been found in. 

The slave had been their ‘dirty secret’, he told the court – a vulnerable one they exploited.  

Kumuthini – who Justice Champion branded a compulsive liar – had left her on the bathroom floor to take her children to a concert before finally calling triple zero on her return.  

Doctors described her victim as ‘fading away’.  

Traumatised and with serious medical conditions, she spent more than two months in hospital recovering – and for much of that time nobody knew her real identity due to a ‘litany of lies’ told by the couple.

Kumuthini Kannan was found guilty of being a slave driver. She would slash her servant with a knife if she was not satisfied with her work, a jury heard

The jury heard Kumunthini had beaten her slave with a frozen chicken, tossed boiling water on her legs, splashed hot tea in her face and poured curries over her head. 

The couple had been accused of working their slave near to death and allowed her just an hour of sleep for years at a time. 

Speaking to a federal agent, the former slave later outlined her years of misery in six recorded interviews. 

‘(Kumuthini) be drinking hot coffee and then she will just, you know, pour it on my face … and then she will be grab the gravy and pour it on my head,’ the woman said. 

‘She will say ‘curries not nice’ and then she will just throw it on me.’

On Wednesday, the elderly woman did not appear in court and was not represented by anyone else – her slavers’ fate left unknown to her until otherwise notified. 

She declined to provide a victim impact statement, declaring she had ‘said all she had to say’. 

Had she tuned in, she would have heard no acknowledgement by Justice Champion of her claims of torture. 

They had been claims he accepted could not be proven by the woman. 

Justice Champion further accepted the pair had not initially planned to use her as a slave, but had embraced the idea for a ‘substantial’ amount of time. 

He described the couple’s offending as ‘repugnant, degrading and a gross breach of human rights’.

Justice Champion accepted Kumunthini was more morally culpable for the offending than her husband, who is now aged 57. 

The Kannans had faced 25 years in jail for the heinous crime – one that is believed to be the first of its kind brought to sentence in an Australian court. 

Kandasamy Kannan walks into the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday 

Kandasamy Kannan faced his fate alone on Wednesday after his evil wife was locked up last month 

The Kannans had denied torturing their captive and remained remorseless and in denial right up until sentence. 

In sentencing, Justice Champion accepted Kumunthini suffered depression which would make her time behind bars tougher. 

He also accepted the couple had both suffered ‘hardship’ because their wicked behaviour had impacted negatively on their children. 

However, he condemned them for failing to accept responsibility for the crime. 

‘Your primary focus appears to have been on yourselves … I am quite convinced you both believe you have done nothing wrong,’ Justice Champion said. 

In taking into account all mitigating factors, the judge, who will now head into retirement, told the pair he would show them a ‘degree of mercy’. 

‘You are both culpable through significant degrees, but not to the same extent … it could have been stopped by either of you at any time,’ Justice Champion said. 

Kumunthini had smiled broadly just minutes before learning her fate in April, still supremely confident that the jury had swallowed her lies. 

The jury of 12 had delivered its verdict after deliberating for just over a day. 

It was still summer when the husband-and-wife slavers first faced the jury on February 10. 

Kumunthini burst into tears upon hearing the guilty verdicts. 

Police believed Kumuthini Kannan (pictured) had held her captive like ‘Harry Potter’

She held her head in her hands and slumped her head into her husband’s shoulders as he too was found guilty. 

Kumunthini had been a beacon of arrogance throughout the epic trial, often smiling while her victim gave harrowing evidence. 

Despite the guilty verdict, the couple were granted bail until their sentence, which was pushed back until July.

While Kandasamy remained free to look after the kids – Kumunthini was sent to jail on June 30. 

The court heard the Kannans had been so confident they would walk free, they had not even discussed how their children might be cared for should they be immediately taken into custody. 

Upon verdict, Justice Champion noted the couple had been in denial of reality that this day would come. 

‘It does Mr and Mrs Kannan no credit … they have placed a gun at the court’s head and they ought be condemned for that,’ he said then. 

The plight of their children remained a weapon against their incarceration right up until their sentence.  

Police believed the  slaver (pictured) had held her captive like ‘Harry Potter’

In closing the Crown case, Richard Maidment told jurors the couple’s payments to the woman amounted to just $3.39 a day in exchange for childcare, washing, cleaning and preparing meals. 

The experienced prosecutor would retire before the Kannans’ sentence on Wednesday. 

He had previously told the court the pair had fudged their captive’s visa documents to allow her to stay in Australia illegally. 

The woman had hoped to earn enough money in Australia to help support her family in India, the jury was told.

‘By 6 August 2007 she had become an unlawful non citizen with the full knowledge and connivance of (the couple),’ Mr Maidment said.

Police believed they were dealing with a real-life Harry Potter when they rescued the  woman, the jury heard. 

Mr Maidment told the jury there was no need to ponder the motive why the couple would risk their reputations and liberty to keep the woman illegally for so long. 

‘The Crown says that is crystal clear. It was crystal clear that they wanted essentially to import a true, tried and tested child carer and domestic servant, knowing that they could pay her next to nothing so that they could continue to live and maintain a five-bedroom home, that they could maintain their lifestyle, that Kumuthini could contemplate a part-time job, three days a week, and also to afford family trips overseas pretty much every year and interstate also on a regular basis,’ he said.

Kumuthini Kannan had been accused of throwing things when unhappy with her slave

Mr Maidment said the couple made sure they had treated their slave well in front of the children she had been enslaved to raise. 

‘The children were very fond of her and the notion that they would always be unkind to her or that they wouldn’t essentially treat her as part of the household, is ridiculous,’ he said. 

‘Clearly, they were going to be concerned about her relationship with the children. Her willingness to work hard. It was important for them to treat her, in many respects, as a member of the household.’ 

But Mr Maidment said it didn’t alter the level of control that they had for her. 

‘Or the deep down, disrespect they had for her situation, or their willingness to exploit her in terms of paying her so far below the appropriate remuneration as to amount to an indicator of slavery,’ he said.  

The jury heard the woman had been effectively stranded in her captive home, unable to even use a bus or call for help from her family back in India. 

‘Her world, other than that which the (couple) exposed them to by actually taking her to places like Sydney, like Phillip Island, like Cape Woolamai  … was the immediate area of the house, Gillian Road Park and that’s about it. So that was her world and the backyard,’ Mr Maidment said.

‘They effectively controlled every aspect of her life, where she went, who she met, controlled her work and her leisure to the extent that she had any and in every practical sense.’

Kumuthini maintained the woman was a rotten liar. 

She had had smiled and sneered from behind a medical mask for much of the trial. 

Barrister Dr Gideon Boas – for Kumuthini – had told the jury his client’s accuser was ‘not a witness of truth’.  

Kumunthini Kannan walks into the Supreme Court of Victoria for the last time before she was jailed last month

Khandasamy (left) and Kumuthini Kannan spend their last moments together before she was sent to jail 

Dr Boas told the jury the federal agents who interviewed his client had believed the alleged victim had been held like the fictional wizard, whom was famously imprisoned under the stairs of his captors in the J.K. Rowling hit books and movies. 

‘So, no doubt the police had in their minds at this stage they were dealing with somebody like Harry Potter being, you know, held under the stairs or something, right?’ he told the jury. 

Dr Boas dismissed the woman’s claims the slave had been kept confined within the family home for years and insisted she had instead been treated like a beloved member of the family. 

When the trial opened in February, Dr Boas made it clear the slave had cooked-up the story to avoid being deported back to India after overstaying her temporary visa. 

Dr Boas told the jury his client actually considered the woman as family and referred to her affectionately as ‘grandmother’. 

He claimed the only crime his client had committed was harbouring the woman after her one-month travel visa had expired. 

It was fear of prosecution over the visa violation that not only caused the woman to lie to authorities, but her to lie about her captivity, the court heard. 

The jury disagreed.  

The Case Against The Kannan Slavers

Kandasamy and Kumuthini Kannan  had kept the Indian woman as a slave before she was discovered with no teeth and emaciated with sepsis. 

They had claimed she was treated ‘like a king’. 

The couple were both charged with intentionally possessing a slave and intentionally exercising the right of ownership over a slave between 2007 and 2015. 

The pair claimed they had been framed and became embroiled in an elaborate extortion attempt. 

The Supreme Court of Victoria heard the couple had been heard by police discussing the allegations over phone taps. 

‘It seems the suggestion is a letter would be produced which would suggest an extortion attempt had been made to extort 10 laks, the equivalent of $18,000 or $19,000 in order to drop the allegations,’  Prosecutor Richard Maidment told jurors.

The court heard their victim had no teeth when found by police in 2015. 

When asked why by police, her keeper claimed she had pulled them out herself and ate only mash.

The woman had been enslaved after two previous visits with the family. 

The slave was found after she became sick and Kumuthini called her an ambulance. 

Paramedics found her shivering in a pool of urine in the bathroom. 

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