Mum died not knowing what became of 'slave' daughter

Independent, Ireland/November 26, 2013

By Shane Hickey and Martin Evans

The family of a woman allegedly held as a slave in London have spoken of their heartache at her unexplained disappearance 30 years ago.

It emerged that the Malaysian woman was a high-flying student who won a scholarship to a London university but vanished virtually without trace after joining a Maoist sect.

Speaking from her home near Kuala Lumpur, retired teacher Kamar Mautum said her 69-year-old sister, Aishah, moved to Britain in 1968 with her fiance and dreamed of balancing an exciting career with a family. But she was soon lured into extremist politics.

Kamar said her late mother's dying wish had been to know what had happened to her daughter who travelled to London, but had never returned.

Kamar said: "I have felt so choked without her for years and years. She was so talented, she was the apple of my mother's eye. She asked for her on her death bed."

The London flat where the 57-year-old Irishwoman, a 30-year-old British national and a 69-year-old Malaysian lived was yesterday boarded up, shortly after the names of the husband and wife arrested in connection with the case emerged.

Aravindan Balakrishnan (73) and his wife Chanda (67) were arrested by police last week amid allegations that they held the women for three decades.

It also emerged the couple were leaders of an extremist communist sect which was based on the political teachings of the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

The case came to light after the Irishwoman rang the Freedom Charity last month to say she had been held against her will.

But the youngest of the three alleged victims is said to have previously written letters to neighbour Marius Feneck (26), describing her life as being "like a fly trapped in a spider's web".

The woman known as 'Rose' wrote more than 500 letters to him in seven years, according to reports. One letter told of the "unspeakable torment" she suffered behind locked doors and windows.

In one she wrote: "I daren't try anything because I know they'll do something evil to you if I do. I'm taking a great risk to give this to you, but I cannot bear to keep the truth from you any longer."

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