THREE sadists who imprisoned an epileptic in a garden shed for four months and tortured him to death were jailed yesterday.
Victim Kevin Davies was beaten with sticks, burned with a hot knife and starved so harshly he lost three stone.
He was freed only to help with household chores. His blood was found on the ceiling, walls and furniture at the home of his tormentors.
Incredibly Kevin, 29 - cruelly nicknamed P**** - was even forced to make a "distressing" Middle East hostage-style video in which he praised his captors for looking after him.
Ringleader Amanda Baggus, 26, her lover David Lehane, 35, and Scott Andrews, 27, tried to blame each other.
But they were given away by a diary kept by Baggus in which she mixed casual horror with banal domestic notes. Her entries read:
"Scott and Dave hit him until quite late cause P**** made a load of shouting. Hooverd 3 times. Dave got back about 5ish. He seem in good mood.
"Made sure Kevin got a good night by getting Dave to beat him up."
"He came in. Have not given him food. Dave smacked him one."
The vile trio were accused of murder. But the charge was dropped after experts could not rule out epilepsy as a contributory cause of death. All three admitted at Bristol crown court false imprisonment and ABH.
Baggus and Lehane were jailed for 10 years and Andrews for nine.
They showed no emotion as a judge branded their treatment "truly horrendous and completely inhumane".
Outside court Kevin's mother, Elizabeth James, fought back tears as she declared: "I can't believe that anyone can be so cruel. They've got away with murder."
Alcoholic Kevin - described as "very vulnerable and very gullible" - was a friend of landscape gardener Lehane and helped him out with odd jobs.
But Baggus, mother of a son of nine, decided he would have to "pay off the debt" after crashing her three-wheeler car in May last year.
On May 27 the couple locked him in the metal windowless shed at their home in the Forest of Dean, Glos. They were joined in July by Andrews.
They started cashing his benefit cheques. Then for reasons which are still a mystery, the mental abuse turned to raw, physical terror.
Kevin was beaten daily, sometimes with a thick wooden bar, leaving his body covered in injuries. He was given potato peelings to eat.
As the violence intensified he was burned, possibly with a hot knife and corrosive liquid.
The three brutes also recorded a video in which their gaunt and terrified captive nervously tells the camera he is scared of his family and says he is being fed well. Both were lies. On September 26, the day of his death, Baggus and Lehane visited the shed and hit him repeatedly in the face.
Vicious Baggus also slammed him over the head with a jug.
Bloodstained Kevin collapsed. His tormentors feared he had had an epileptic fit and dragged his body into the kitchen. Baggus later rang 999.
But tragic Kevin was already dead by the time paramedics arrived.
Prosecutor Ian Pringle said: "The last few months of this man's life must have been utterly miserable.
"He was effectively held captive in a locked garden shed, kept like a dog and abused for four months.
"There was bruising to both arms, both legs and to the lower jaw.
"There were fractures to his ribs and and larynx. Burn marks covered 10 per cent of his body area."
Baggus blamed depression caused by the death of her mother for her part in the violence. Lehane's defence said "things had got out of hand". Andrews had a string of convictions.
Investigation leader Det Chief Insp Geoff Brookes said: "Only they can say what motivated them.
"On the face of it, they were normal members of the community. But clearly their behaviour was bizarre. This was the worst abuse I've seen."