Brutal gang of slavemasters who abused workers for decades jailed for 29 years

The men were found guilty at the High Court, Glasgow (Police Scotland)

A group of men been have been jailed for a total of 29 years after being found guilty of slavery charges.

Robert McPhee, 65, his son James McPhee, 45, and son-in-law John Miller, 38, were found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow in connection with servitude, abduction and serious assault offences between 1992 and 2016.

Another son, Steven McPhee, 37, pleaded guilty to serious assault and assault charges.

Robert McPhee (Police Scotland)
James McPhee (Police Scotland)

The gang preyed on vulnerable men, holding them against their will at a number of traveller sites across Scotland, and forcing them to work for little or no payment.

The Lanarkshire men carried out their crimes in their local area, as well as in Glasgow, Paisley, Bathgate, London and Manchester.

But their plans began to unravel in June 2015 when one of their victims came forward to police, prompting the launch of a special investigation.

The four men were finally arrested in Shotts, Lanarkshire, in March 2017.

The men were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow (Google Street View)


In sentencing the men, Lady Stacey said they used people “with a variety of problems” and they “did not treat them properly.

“In some cases there was violence over a long period, in others there were abductions by which you forced people away from their families and forced them to work for you.”

Robert McPhee was jailed for 10 years, James McPhee for nine years, John Miller for seven years and Steven McPhee for three years.

John Miller (Police Scotland)
Steven McPhee (Police Scotland)

Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Jamieson who led the operation said: “The men preyed on vulnerable young adults, including those living in homeless accommodation, and lured them into working for them with the promise of a much better life.

“They then carried out sickening acts of violence on them and continued to exploit them, forcing them to carry out heavy manual labour work with absolutely no return.

“Despite the horrific ordeal the victims were subjected to, they have had the courage to speak out about what happened and their information has been vital to investigating this case.”