A man accused of keeping a girl as a slave in a cellar for years has told a court she was “happy” to work for him.

Ilyas Ashar, 83, said the alleged victim, an orphan from Pakistan, had not been forced to work at his home In Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford.

He also said the accusation he raped her was untrue as he was physically incapable of it.

Mr Ashar and his wife Tallat, 66, deny charges of false imprisonment, human trafficking and sexual offences.

The pair, who are on trial at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court. also deny charges of benefit fraud.

The trial has previously heard claims the girl was beaten regularly, repeatedly raped by Mr Ashar and kept a virtual prisoner to work for the family.

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