An NHS mental health specialist who took in a Ukrainian refugee was reported for modern day slavery after she asked her guest to help out more with the dishes.
Hannah Debenham, 42, of Uckfield, East Sussex, was under investigation for two months following the accusation, before the case was dropped this week when no evidence was found.
The mother of two was asked to ‘voluntarily’ attend Eastbourne police station where she was questioned by a modern-day slavery inspector, which she branded ‘the worst experience of my life’. Officers also spent two hours at her home with her husband.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Patch, of Sussex Police, defended his force’s action today, telling MailOnline the investigation was ‘expedited as quickly as possible’, adding that it takes any report of slavery ‘very seriously’.
The refugee, a mother who cannot be named for legal reasons, complained to police that she was ‘expected to clear up and tidy up the house for little to no money under the disguise of the Ukrainian settlement scheme’, according to the police report.
Ms Debenham told MailOnline: ‘It was just devastating. We just wanted to help. If I was charged I would have had to declare that and it would have been a permanent impediment to my career.
‘They also spoke to my husband and told him that I could face life in prison if I was found guilty.
‘I’ve been an NHS mental health specialist for 15 years and I have often worked with people with severe mental illness supporting their needs in police custody, and this happening to me was the worst experience of my life.’