Family-run gang gets prison for enslaving, torturing troubled men

A UK gang led by a dad nicknamed “The Tank Commander” have been jailed for a savage 24-year campaign of kidnappings, violence and intimidation against terrified laborers.

One terrified victim was tortured naked in a pigsty and made to eat dog food while another was told he would be skinned alive with a razor.

Robert McPhee and his family preyed on vulnerable men who came from broken or troubled backgrounds and promised them work such as paving driveways and cutting trees.

A total of eight victims had to do mammoth shifts for little or no pay and were brutally punished if they complained or attempted to escape the gang’s clutches.

One laborer told a jury he was kept naked in a shed, made to eat dog food and told to drink his own urine if he was thirsty.

Yesterday Bobby McPhee, 65, his sons James, 45, and Steven, 37, and son-in-law John Miller, 38, were jailed for a total of 29 years.

Passing sentence at the High Court in Glasgow, Scotland, Judge Lady Stacey said the gang preyed on men with a “variety of problems.”

She said: “There was violence over a long period.”

“You forced people away from their families to work for you.”

“Evidence showed an attitude of thinking you were able to tell people what to do, when to do it, where to live and backing up instructions with violence.”

Bobby McPhee, known as “The Tank Commander,” was jailed for 10 years, son James got nine years and Miller got seven years after they were convicted on charges including assault, abduction and holding men in “servitude” from 1992 to 2016.

Steven McPhee admitted to one count of assault and was jailed for three years.

The gang shouted inaudible comments as they were led from court.

The McPhees kept their victims in squalid conditions.Scotland Police

During the trial, one tortured victim told how he was battered and “taught a lesson” when he tried to get away.

Another said he was “owned” by the family.

Jurors heard further grim evidence of a petrified worker “left cowering like a dog” due to the abuse.

One man who fled was told he had a $7,000 bounty on his head and would be “skinned” with a razor unless he returned.

The trial came after a large-scale police probe that began in 2016.

Prosecutors said workers were “well-chosen” due to being “vulnerable,” making them “ripe” to be manipulated.

The McPhee gang stayed at a number of campsites in Scotland.

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