A WOMAN says she has been unable to return to her home for seven months over safety fears following claims her partner was enslaved at a travellers' site.

Kelly Vines is the third witness to be heard in a trial in which Michael Joyce, of Redbridge Hollow in Oxford, is facing five charges of modern slavery.

READ AGAIN: Oxford modern slavery trial opens

The offences allegedly took place between April 2016 and January 2018, but Joyce, 60, denies all charges.

Oxford Crown Court heard today how Ms Vines and her partner Paul Gilding, who is one of two men who claim they were exploited and forced to work by Michael Joyce, have been forced to live in a safe house since January and returned only once for belongings with a police escort.

Talking via a video link, she claimed it follows her partner reporting Michael Joyce to police after months of Mr Gilding being forced to work for no money.

She claimed there was also demands to hand over her monthly wages, and partner's benefits.

The court heard how it stemmed from Mr Gilding having broken a tool while doing a few days cash-in-hand work at the travellers' site and therefore being forced to work to pay back the tool's cost, as well as handing over thousands of pounds.

ALSO READ: Alleged slavery victim says he was 'terrified' of 'bossman'

Describing how her partner was when he used to be dropped back home from working on the site, she said: "He was not good. He got a lot worse with his moods, his mental health. He was hard to be around, scared, he wasn't the same person.

"He had an attitude [...] He was just a shell of a person."

Ms Vines claims her partner would come home 'exhausted, frightened, sad, and scared' having been forced to work all day at the Redbridge Hollow site.

The court heard claims that on one occasion Joyce was outside Ms Vines home and Mr Gilding went outside to meet him.

She said after a short encounter her partner came back in the house and seemed off, soon admitting that he had just been hit in the face by Joyce.

ALSO READ: 'Slavery victim' denies being a ‘cunning liar'

Explaining how the police were called, she claimed: "We went somewhere for the weekend and he went into the bedroom, he came out and said I have done it I have finally gone to the police. I was in shock."

She added: "Then my life goes in a completely different direction, we weren't allowed to go back as we weren't safe."

Adding: "We had a police escort to get some of our stuff then were moved to a safe house. We haven't been back since."

The retrial comes after Joyce's sons John and Michael, as well as David Boiling, of Northfield Close, Littlemore, were acquitted of the same allegations in December.

The trial continues.