Faith-related killings of children could rise if the UK does not address child abuse linked to beliefs in witchcraft and spirit possession in a number of communities, according to the authorities.
Government statistics have shown 1,500 potential abuse cases had links to belief in possession and witchcraft.
“These beliefs are very real and on occasion people are going to take this to extremes where a child can be murdered,” Inspector Allen Davis, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s response to the issue, told the Independent.
“There are a number of ways that an adult will try to rid the child of the evil they believe is within them. They might try to burn it out, cut it out, strangle it out, drowning can be involved, or starving and beating.”
Within Britain there are a number of communities with a “genuine belief” in possession and witchcraft. High-profile cases have emerged in recent years, including the killing of Kristy Bamu and Ayesha Ali.
Bamu, 15, was found dead in 2010 after staying with his sister Magalie Bamu and her partner Eric Bikubi, who were obsessed with witchcraft. He was starved for days and beaten with hammers, floor tiles and bottles for wetting his pants and “spelling” his siblings. He drowned in the bath on Christmas Day during a “cleansing” ritual.
Polly Chowdhury and lesbian lover Kiki Muddar killed Ayesha Ali, eight, in August 2013. The pair believed she was possessed by the devil and forced her to endure beatings and abuse. She was found dead in her room in Chadwell Heath, east London, after a fatal blow to the head but evidence of bite marks and other abuse were found on her body.
Dr Lisa Oakley, chair of the National Working Group for Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief, told the Independent: “We know these practices are occurring so we want to be acting now so we don’t have another high-profile case.
“You’ve then got a child who is severely damaged or not here anymore, and that’s a high price to pay. We’re saying we don’t want to get to a point where there is another high-profile case.”
Inspector Davis stated that “this is not a black African problem,” stressing that the issue “is far broader.”
“The beliefs in witchcraft and spirit possession are very broad and go across a far larger swath of the world than you would expect,” he said. “These beliefs are common within both Christianity and Islam and we get victims from both.”
Jesus dealt with demonically-possessed people throughout His 3 year ministry. His Apostles also dealt with such, as did His disciples. There is no reason to believe that demonic possession suddenly disappeared because we are now in modern times.
I know from experience that demonic possession and demonic influence still exists, I have seen it and come up against it. But the Bible is clear that there are no violent procedures necessary in delivering someone from demons, just faith.
Evidence suggests that areas of Africa are affected by it but 1,460 potential cases found in the 2017/2018 Children in Need Census were branded an “underestimate” by some experts, who said the practices and signs are simply not identified by neighbors and people in authority positions.
SANTIAGO – The archbishop of Malta, Charles Scicluna, has begun the investigation ordered by Pope Francis to clarify whether Chilean bishop Juan Barros concealed the sexual abuse of minors committed by nearly 80 priests.
“It was a long, emotionally difficult meeting, but I am very happy to have been able to speak with Monsignor Scicluna, they behaved incredibly well and for the first time I feel they are listening to us,” Cruz said in statements made in New York, broadcast by local media.
Cruz and other victims of Karadima accuse Barros of having been present when he abused them as pastor of a church in the exclusive community of El Bosque, in Santiago.
Barros was part of the homilies that the pope officiated during his visit to Chile last January, causing great controversy.
Before the mass he officiated in the city of Iquique (north), Francisco said that the accusations against Barros were “slander”, but upon returning to the Vatican he apologized for his statements and later announced the investigation of the case.
Scicluna, 58, arrived in Chile on Monday to continue taking testimonies. He is considered one of the greatest experts in sexual crimes of the Church. He was in-charge of the investigation of sexual abuse committed by the Mexican Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.
In Chile, some 80 priests have been accused of sexual abuse of minors, according to the American NGO BishopAccountability.
A pervert who imported a child-sized sex doll so it would fit in his wardrobe when his grandchildren visited his home has been jailed.
A court heard the 62-year-old claimed he had no sexual interest in children and simply bought the 'flat-chested' doll as a 'bed companion'.
But jailing him today for 28 weeks, Recorder David Jeremy QC said the doll was ordered to provide Leach 'an outlet' for his arousal from viewing such images. Describing the purchase of the sex toy as 'complimentary' to the images, he added: 'There is an overlap in these offences as the images were designed to provide arousal and the doll was an outlet for that arousal. The gravimum of your offence is that the child-like doll you imported was intended to enable you to give effect to the sexual fantasies that the images of children were intended to arouse.'
Leach, of Whitmore Street, admitted importation of an indecent or obscene article, as well as three offences of making indecent photographs of children. A total of 278 imaged were found, many on his computer hard drive having been deleted. The court heard they covered all categories of seriousness and depicted girls as young as three to five being subjected to horrific sexual abuse.
Police raided his home on March 21 last year and when Leach was told the doll, costing more than £500 had been seized three months earlier, he replied he 'wondered' why it had not arrived. He was arrested and interviewed but prosecutor Trevor Wright told Maidstone Crown Court he was 'vague' as to the reason why he bought it.
Mr Wright added: 'He said he ordered the doll, or child sex toy, to be a companion for him. He said he did originally want an adult-sized one but that the child-sized one would fit in his wardrobe better.
He said because his grandchildren aged four and five came to stay at weekends he wanted something he could get into his wardrobe and hide.'
I'll bet the grandchildren won't be coming for weekends any longer. I'll bet they wont have anything to do with you for the rest of your miserable life.
Mr Wright added that Leach, a former NHS worker, also told police he decided to 'treat himself' with money from his redundancy package. 'He didn't choose any clothing and took time on the website choosing hair and eye colour, and paid over £500 for it.
'He was very vague and couldn't say for what reason he got it. He said it was flat-chested but wouldn't describe it as a child simply for that reason. He said his wife was flat-chested too. He denied having it for any sexual purpose and insisted it was simply a companion.'
Of the indecent images he downloaded, Leach told police they 'looked pretty' but had deleted most of them as he knew it was wrong. However, Leach would then go back online and search for more, added the prosecutor.
The court heard that importation of an indecent or obscene article carries a maximum sentence of seven years.
Leach represented himself during the hearing. He said he was lonely and had low self-esteem following his marriage break-up and then moving back to Kent after living in Suffolk for 12 years.
He told the court he ordered the doll when he was drunk. 'I had not properly considered the impact of the size and shape of it, only that it could be stored easily,' added Leach. 'I hadn't realised this could be illegal. When it didn't arrive I wasn't bothered because when I was sober I had already regretted ordering it and was only annoyed at spending a lot of money on it.'
Leach also told the court he had 'stumbled' across child abuse images when browsing legal pornography. 'I should have steered away but stupidly let curiosity get the better of me,' he added.
He said that he had since sought help with child-protection charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. 'I feel ashamed and disgusted with myself. My actions have made me feel physically sick when I think of my own family who love and trust me,' added Leach.
'I don't want to see any images like this again. I no longer feel desire to look at any pornography at all. I wish to keep it this way.'
On passing sentence, Recorder Jeremy said he had taken into account Leach's previous good character as well as the tragic deaths of two of his grandchildren.
A MAN who admitted downloading nearly 5,000 images of children has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
David Briggs, 35, was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, was given a three-year community order and was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Basildon Crown Court heard how officers, acting on intelligence, executed a warrant at the home of Briggs in Victoria Avenue, Southend on April 15 last year.
They seized various equipment, including an iPad, a laptop, a USB stick and a DVD.
The equipment was forensically examined and found to contain:
199 Category A moving images and stills (Category A is the most serious level of abuse imagery)
186 Category B moving images and stills
4,172 Category C images
16 Prohibited images
133 Extreme images
Briggs was charged with three counts of making indecent images of children, possessing prohibited images of children and possessing extreme pornography.
He admitted the charges when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court where the court also ordered Briggs to carry out a 60 rehabilitation programme, ordered him to pay £250 costs and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of his computer equipment.
Following the sentencing Det Sgt Ashley Howard said: “Briggs had a huge amount of images, some featuring children as young as six-years-old being abused. These children - like every child featured in abuse imagery - are exploited every time someone downloads or shares these images."
“Nothing is more important than protecting our children and Essex Police has and will continue to proactively target those viewing, downloading or making indecent images of children. “If you are committing this crime we will knock on your door and we will put you before the courts.”
Briggs is one of more than 50 offenders arrested during a crackdown aimed at targeting offenders downloading, making and distributing indecent images of children online.
Over the last year, using an intelligence-led approach, a dedicated team of specialist officers have targeted those carrying out this type of offence. The team have worked alongside and in support of Essex Police’s existing specialist Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAIT).
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is the only UK-wide child protection charity focused solely on preventing child sexual abuse. The charity runs Stop it Now! – a child sexual abuse prevention campaign and helpline.
For more information on how Stop it Now! helps people address their online behaviour, please visit the website www.stopitnow.org.uk or call the confidential Stop it Now! Helpline on 0808 1000 900.
Alex Renton has recounted his horrifying story of being sexually abused by a UK boarding school teacher in a new ITV documentary.
Speaking on the show, Alex said: ‘My memory of my sexual encounter with him is only once and it was in the classroom where he usually taught."
‘I remember very clearly the physical feeling of being pressed up against his sort of hairy tweed jacket while he had an arm round me and his other hand was going straight down the front of my corduroy shorts."
‘I remember quite distinctly being given the fruit gum afterwards which I knew already was what you got if you submitted to this. But he was a very violent man so I’m not sure what submission meant. I don’t think you could have said no,’ he added.
One survivor in the show is Phillip Witcomb, who in 1975 aged 13 attended Lucton School in Herefordshire, where he claimed housemaster David Panter was abusing him in the showers.
Phillip Witcomb attempted to tell the headmaster, Keith Vivian, about the incident – only to be shrugged away and told to go back to classes.
Speaking on the show, Phillip said: ‘So you describe it in your own childish way. And I remember this big hand, cause he had massive hands, Keith Vivian, coming down on my shoulder, “Now boy, now let’s stop telling stories. Run along to your class. Off you go, boy.” ‘And you’d get washed out the door.
So, that is actually what happens.’ Keith Vivian later listened to numerous complaints about Panter, removing him from the premises.
The former headmaster, now vicar, told Exposure he has ‘no recollection of any complaint made by Phillip’ but remembers prefects coming to him which prompted him to ask Panter to ‘leave the school premises immediately’ and inform the governing body.
He claims he would have acted immediately on such accusations, but stated ‘it was not a police matter at that time’.
In 2016, Panter was jailed for nine years for indecent assault and gross indecency against seven Lucton pupils. He however pleaded not guilty to the allegations made by Phillip, which he still denies today.
All schools are expected to have safeguard arrangements to prevent abuse, which are checked in regular inspections. When Exposure analysed the most recent inspection report for every boarding school in England, they found one in ten schools either failed to meet national standards or didn’t meet the requirements needed to be certified ‘good’.
Alex Renton spoke to the Boarding Schools’ Association, which represents 90% of boarding schools, who stated: ‘What I can say is that everyone who works in boarding today is professional, caring and doing everything they can to make safeguarding their number one priority."
‘There’s no doubt, that there was a period where some people at some schools experience some appalling abuse. And it’s absolutely shocking. But in my experience, there isn’t any school out there which doesn’t want to listen to victims and, where it can, as quickly as possible, say sorry.’
James Moore, 55, hoarded indecent photographs of children at an address in Tarbolton. Moore appeared at Ayr Sheriff Court last week where he admitted three charges relating to child pornography images.
Moore, of McLeod Court in the village, admitted taking or permitting to be taken indecent pictures of children. He also pled guilty to having them in his posession. He admitted a third charge of distributing or showing indecent photographs of kids.
He denied having extreme porn showing animals involved in sexual activity with people.
His not guilty plea to that charge was accepted by the fiscal. In addition he pled not guilty to telling someone online that he wanted to commit a sexual offence against a child.
The fiscal also accepted his not guilty plea for that charge.
Sheriff John Montgomery has added Moore to the sex offender’s register while reports are prepared on his background.
The Sheriff ordered a risk assessment to be carried out. Moore is due back in court at a later date.