In recent years we have seen some cases of this nature that beggar belief from the Cleveland Captives
to the even more unbelievable Fritzl case
to the case of Ilyas Ashar
At first sight, the case of the three alleged captives held in South London was similar in nature to the above; now it appears that what happened was nowhere near so clear cut.
The investigation dates to October this year, and the three women were removed from the house by the police on November 22. They were identified as a Malaysian woman age 69, an Irish woman aged 57, and a British woman aged 30. A man of 73 and his wife were arrested, and bailed
The two suspects have now been identified
as Aravindan Balakrishnan and his wife Chanda. The ages of these two people and the fact that they were bailed indicate that there is far more to this case than meets the eye. The police have spoken about the women being kept in "invisible handcuffs."
The name Balakrishnan is comparatively rare in Britain; there are a few dozen entries in the Times Index
over the course of the 20th Century and on into this one, but none that appear to be relevant. Balakrishnan and his wife are said to have been members of a Maoist group but to have split from this group and started their own organisation, the Workers Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-Tung Thought. (Chairman Mao's name is now generally spelt Mao Zedong).
Little information is to be found on the Web about this organisation to date; it appears to have been closed following a police raid
on March 22, 1978. The alleged victims had lived with this now elderly couple in a collective, and to have stayed on after the raid, two of them, clearly the third woman being much younger must have been born and brought up there if she too had been living as part of this group for 30 years.
To date, the Daily Mail
has produced the most information about this case, but that comes with a very big caveat emptor
in 1997, a woman name Sian Davies
died in a bizarre accident at the commune. There is no suggestion that she was anything but a voluntary resident. In spite of the reference to invisible handcuffs, this appears to be a case that does not involve either force or intimidation, and although both religious and political "cults" have been known to indoctrinate their members, it is difficult at the moment to see how the authorities will proceed if they decide to press charges against either or both of the "commune's" founders.