Police detain Romanian couple suspected of enslaving man in Portimão

A Romanian couple suspected of enslaving a 61-year-old man in his own Portimão studio apartment for nine years has been detained by PJ police.

Fernando Rocha is reported to have hired a 28-year-old woman to help him with some household chores and allowed her and her 37-year-old boyfriend to move into the house.

Over time it is alleged they only allowed him to use the house’s hall and bathroom, with no access to the rest of the house, and took his personal documents, EDP pension, bank account details and mobile phone.

“They never gave me any money. Every once in a while they would give me some cigarettes,” Rocha said in an interview with TV station SIC.

He also accused the couple of becoming violent when he said he didn’t approve of their plans to sell his house.

“They would become violent and angry, especially the woman. I’d have to leave the house so that they wouldn’t attack me,” the man said.

Although it was reported that his neighbours knew something was wrong, police were only contacted when one of the victim’s friends noticed Fernando Rocha was “mentally debilitated”.

The suspects were arrested and released on “Termo de Identidade e Residência”, in which they are not allowed to leave their area of residence and have to be available whenever notified by the authorities.