Horrific pictures show gruesome injuries sustained by vulnerable man who was bullied, tortured and humiliated by bigoted couple because he has special needsDavid Busby, 29, was targeted and belittled by Ross Walsh, 30, and his 36-year old wife Christina for sadistic pleasureThey lured Mr Busby into their home and subjected him to a series of unwarranted beatings – often in the cellarBrothers Faran Abbas, 18, and Sohail Abbas, 20, also joined in the violence against Mr BusbyHe endured a month-long campaign of attacks and
suffered many injuries including 14 smashed ribs, a displaced breast bone and broken collar
23:17 GMT, 5 December 2012
These shocking pictures show the horrific injuries sustained by a vulnerable man who was bullied, tortured and humiliated by a bigoted couple simply because he has special needs.
David Busby, 29, was targeted and belittled by Ross Walsh, 30, and his 36-year old wife Christina for sadistic pleasure when they realised he had severe learning difficulties.
After offering their collection of video games and the promises of help with household chores, they lured Mr Busby into their home and subjected him to a series of unwarranted beatings – often in the cellar.
Horrific: This picture shows the injuries sustained by David Busby, a vulnerable man with learning disabilities, after he was bullied, tortured and humiliated by a bigoted couple
Bullied: David Busby, 29, was targeted because he had special needs
The 29-year old was said to have been treated 'like a punch bag', as his tormentors got their kicks out of 'exercising control' over him.
Walsh would repeatedly punch and kick his victim whilst his hardfaced and icy wife stood by and watched before taking money from Mr Busby.
He would then return to his rented home nearby.
Mr Busby endured a month-long campaign of attacks, which ended with him suffering 14 smashed ribs, a displaced breast bone, a broken collar bone and extensive bruising and whip marks on his arms, thighs, lower back, chest and kidney area.
Police were called in when he was taken to hospital by his landlord who noticed the severity of his injuries. When Walsh was confronted by officers she showed no emotion was not even concerned for her vulnerable neighbour.
At Burnley Crown Court the couple, of Accrington, Lancs were convicted of conspiracy to inflict grievous bodily harm with intent, between July and August 2011, after a 12- day trial. Ross was jailed for ten years and his wife got five years.
Jailed: David Busby, 29, was targeted and belittled by Ross Walsh, 30, right, and his 36-year old wife Christina, left, for sadistic pleasure
Brothers Faran Abbas, 18, and Sohail Abbas, 20, also of Accrington, were also convicted of conspiracy. Faran was jailed for three and a half years whilst Sohail was jailed for five years.
The court heard how Mr Busby had been a frequent visitor to the Walsh’s home after they offered him the chance to 'play video games to his heart’s content'.
They also helped him with everyday tasks like washing, cleaning and dividing up his benefit money for rent and shopping.
But prosecuting Joe Boyd said: 'Christina and Ross Walsh identified David Busby as a person who was vulnerable as a result of his learning difficulties.
'Together they exploited him by purporting to offer friendship and practical support whilst in fact taking him in and beating him. They just treated him like a punch bag, getting some kind of kick from exercising that control.'
The Abbas brothers also went to the property frequently and joined in the violence. One witness told the jury how Ross Walsh stamped on the victim’s chest to a point where he couldn’t breathe.
Mr Busby himself described an incident in the cellar in which Ross Walsh held a knife to his shoulder.
Mr Busby told police: 'I was punched and kicked, I was hit with some weapons, a metal bar and a cricket bat. It just suddenly changed one day, I cannot remember what changed. I was angry, hurt and scared.'
Locked up: Brothers Faran Abbas, 18, left, and Sohail Abbas, 20, right, also went to the property frequently and joined in the violence
The violence was finally discovered when he was sent to a corner shop where his horrified landlord who worked there noticed his horrific injuries.
He took Mr Busby to Accrington Victoria Hospital for treatment and staff called in police. After initially telling police the injuries were as a result of a fall, Mr Busby admitted he had been beaten by his 'friends.'
Christopher Stephenson, who was lodging at the Walsh’s house at the time, said he had witnessed seven to 10 attacks on Mr Busby and confessed he was 'ashamed' he hadn’t spoken out about it.
He said the Walsh’s house was 'an utterly hideous place to live' and added: 'I saw David being punched, kicked, hit with a pole, with a bust lip and swelling to the face. I would hear David screaming.'
PC Lisa Mason and PC Jenna Millward said they were sent to the Walsh household by Mr Busby's landlord.
PC Mason said: 'Christina didn’t seem too shocked and said she didn’t know anything about the injuries.'
PC Millward added: 'There was no emotion. She wasn’t concerned or surprised. There was nothing there.'
Hurt: Mr Busby endured a month-long campaign of attacks, which ended with him suffering 14 smashed ribs, a displaced breast bone and a broken collar bone
The court was told because of his learning disability, Mr Busby could not give an exact timeline of his ordeal. The Walshes are now getting divorced.
For Christina Walsh, Kevin Donnelly said: 'She is somebody who has been able to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.'
Defending Ross Walsh, Philip Holden told the court : 'Of course, I accept there will be some considerable psychological effects upon Mr Busby and that will persist, but in terms of the physical effects, fortunately they appear to have resolved principally.'
Sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman said: 'Mr Busby has sustained appalling injuries and dreadful psychological harm.
'He has not done anything to deserve such an assault from anybody. Undoubtedly the trust he placed in the Walshes was appallingly betrayed.
'The motives are difficult to determine particularly. It may be that David Busby was seen as a source of cash. False tales were put about that he owed the Walshes money when it may be he did not.
'One suggestion for the incident in the cellar was he hadn’t paid over money he supposedly owed to you and that he was taught a lesson.
'But, part of the motive was that he was disabled and couldn’t do anything about it. He didn’t have the wit to complain to the police or anybody else.'
The judge told Ross Walsh: 'You behaved in a particularly sadistic way in degrading him down in the cellar.'
After the case Jo Davies, policy and campaigns officer at learning disability charity Mencap, said:
'This is an extremely disturbing case of sickening abuse but unfortunately this kind of “hate crime” against people with a learning disability is far more common than most people realise.'
Det Con Helen Mercer from Lancashire Police said: 'This was a horrific case where a vulnerable man with learning difficulties has been subjected to mental, financial and physical abuse resulting in multiple fractures and severe bruising.
'It took him several months to divulge even some of the horror of what he had endured. He thought these people were his friends and so couldn’t understand that it was wrong for them to treat him in this way.
'There are no words to describe what they did. They started off as his carer and struck up a friendship with him over eight years before abusing him in the most appalling and dreadful way. It became a wicked game for them.
'It has been extremely distressing for the man and I would like to commend his bravery throughout the trial.
'He is now safe and well and is being looked after. We have supported him throughout the case and will continue to offer him support for as long as he needs.'