Why we decided to publish the JET Report
|The Joint Enquiry Report into the 1988 Broxtowe Case has now been published for the first time on the Internet by three journalists (at www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~dlheb/Default.htm). It is being made available in the hope that an informed readership will be able to draw its own conclusions.|
|Since the early 1980s, sexual crime against children has become a widely publicised and emotive issue. From 1983 a number of high-profile cases in the USA attracted considerable media attention. Prosecutors claimed that children were being maltreated - even murdered -- in pagan, witchcraft and/or satanic rituals. Soon the same phenomenon emerged throughout Europe.|
|The first case in England was in Nottingham in 1988. Already cited as Britain's biggest-ever case of multi-generational incest, the Broxtowe Case began to take on "satanic" dimensions. This development caused a serious rift between the social workers and police involved.|
|The Chief Constable and Director of Social Services for Nottinghamshire set up a Joint Enquiry Team (JET) to re-investigate the evidence supporting the claims of Satanism. The team's full report identified all the children, adults, social workers and police officers involved and, therefore, was unpublishable for legal reasons. One team member was asked to produce a shorter, version which could be distributed for the general information of social worker colleagues and the police. It is this version which is published on the Internet with an introduction by the author.|
|Then, in an unexpected U-turn, an internal decision was made that the report should not published after all. The members of the Joint Enquiry Team were forbidden to speak about their findings. But the social workers directly involved in the case were allowed to promote their views on Broxtowe through the media and in meetings, seminars and conferences throughout the country.|
|In the years that followed, about a dozen further cases of "satanic ritual abuse" surfaced in Britain. In spite of scores of children being taken into care and their parents being accused of the most despicable crimes, no-one was convicted of any offences relating to "Satanism". But the satanic dimension still crops up in sex-crime investigations, most recently in Belgium's Marc Dutroux Case.|
|The central question is this: If the JET Report had been made more widely available to social workers and police in 1990 would these cases have been handled differently? And if so, how?|
|Nick Anning David Hebditch Margaret Jervis|
The JET Report
The original Joint Enquiry Report consisted of five volumes totalling over 600 pages. The first volume of 42 pages contained an introduction, a survey of the Team's work, conclusions, the reasons for these, a section covering the effects of the Broxtowe case on the Social Services Department, a section on Police/Social Service relationships and finally the Recommendations. This volume was in effect a brief summary of our approach and findings and no personnel were identified. All the evidence for our findings was contained in a further 4 volumes of Appendices labelled Factual Investigations, Children's Disclosures and Research. The Factual Investigation volume contained reports on interviews and contacts with over 70 persons.
The original report was written on the understanding that it was a personal report for the Director of Social Services and the Chief Constable and included material that was given to us in the strictest confidence that this would be the case. There was no attempt to preserve confidentiality and the appendices identify children and suspected perpetrators of Satanic abuse.
With the need to make the report more widely available and usable it has been re-written in a shortened version so that it can stand on its own without the appendices. The team have, therefore, extracted the most important information which influenced their conclusions and recommendations and have incorporated it into a one volume report. Our findings, conclusions and recommendations have not been altered but we have taken the opportunity to clarify some of the statements made in the original report. We have also added some additional material on the significance of our findings and have made use of further relevant information which has become available in the last few months. This report is still a Joint Report and has the approval of the remaining members of both agencies.
7th June 1990 Signed.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENQUIRY
Stage 1 Preliminary Investigation into Background Material
Stage 2 Interviews with Senior Personnel in the Respective Departments
Stage 3 Places and People Investigated
Stage 4 Analysis of the Children's Disclosures
(i) Analysis of the Children's Disclosures
(ii) Research into Satanism and Witchcraft
(iii) Research into the International Scene (USA, Canada and Holland) and the literature from the USA
(iv) Interviews with Experts previously used by Social Services
Stage 5 The later disclosures of [Mary] and the other 'satellite' cases
RESEARCH INTO OTHER CASES IN THE UK
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS OF WORK DONE BY THE TEAM (Stage 1 - 5)
IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
In October 1987 seven children of an extended family in Nottinghamshire were removed from home on suspicion that they had been sexually abused by their parents and relatives. In February 1989 10 adults, both male and female, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court charged with 53 offences of incest, indecent assault and cruelty against 21 of the children of their extended family and extensive terms of imprisonment were imposed. It is generally agreed that this was the most serious case of multi-generational sexual abuse within an extended family known in Britain. The successful prosecution was the culmination of enquiries made by both Police and Social Services personnel co-operating together into what became known as the Broxtowe Case, Nottingham. It resulted in considerable praise from the media, local councillors and even the Prime Minister for the efforts of the police and social workers after the Crown Court Judge made named commendations in respect of the involved personnel.
The children had been made Wards of Court before the criminal proceedings commenced and the Judge gave permission for the children to be interviewed by psychiatrists instructed by the parties. Any further interviews by social workers or the police would have required the Court's further permission. This was a sensitive time as the furore over Cleveland had erupted three months previously. The children's foster parents were asked to keep diaries of anything they said or did that might be relevant to their future welfare. These diaries formed part of the evidence provided to the Wardship Court which resulted in all the children being committed to the care of the Local Authority. The disclosures made in these diaries indicated very extensive sexual abuse. They also appeared to suggest that the children had been subjected to something more than sexual abuse as the children talked about witch parties, the murder of babies, the killing of animals, the involvement of strangers and of being taken elsewhere to be abused. Nothing like the content of these diaries had ever been seen before and they eventually gave rise to the suspicion that the children might have been involved in some form of organised ritualistic Satanic abuse or witchcraft cult. Adult members of the extended family were interviewed by social workers and appeared to support this view.
The Police set up a separate unilateral investigation into these further revelations after a Senior Social Worker made a statement. The social workers were not invited or encouraged to take part in this investigation which was called "Gollom". The social workers have stated that they had little idea as to what, if anything, was actually being investigated. When the Police reported in their findings that they did not consider Satanic abuse or witchcraft was involved or that there were any other perpetrators, this was not accepted by Social Services staff. It would appear that the social work staff had formed a view that the Police had deliberately set out to discredit the corroborating adults. In their view the Police were trying to disprove and close down the investigation. They further considered that the Police did not have sufficient knowledge of this type of abuse and were not prepared to acquire it. In short the Social Services Department, having not been involved were not satisfied that the Police had undertaken a thorough investigation and additional information the social workers acquired about tunnels at Wollaton Hall and a swimming pool at an identified house appeared to strengthen this opinion.
The Police were concerned that the information contained in the children's diaries would be on their prosecution files and, therefore, available to the Defence in the Criminal Prosecution. They considered that there was a possibility that as potential witnesses the children and young adults would be discredited. Because of this the Police requested that no further diaries should be kept but this ran counter to the requirements of the Wardship Hearing and the need to understand the children's experience if they were to be helped. By June 1988 the Police refused to accept any more of the children's diaries. They indicated that they would no longer be prepared to investigate disclosures of this nature.
The only exception to this was an interview conducted with children who alleged that murders had taken place on a boat. Once again the social workers considered that the police had set out to discredit the children.
Various meetings by senior officers of both departments were held to try and find a way out of this impasse but no satisfactory resolution appeared to be reached and the children continued to make disclosures identifying locations and additional perpetrators. It is indisputable that a profound mistrust had developed and the awareness of this was not helped by the knowledge that the Cook Programme would be including Nottingham in its presentation of a programme on the Satanic abuse of children.
In April 1989 a Joint Memorandum outlining the Social Services' perspective of the disclosures and enquiry work was submitted by the Principal Solicitor and Assistant Director of Children's Services to the Chief Executive. The memorandum did not express a view as to whether Satanic abuse was a reality but it did express grave concern that further children could be at risk and that it was no longer possible to investigate this. The memorandum made the point that if a child was abused as a consequence of the lack of investigation then it would be very damaging for the Local Authority. The memorandum was, therefore, written to draw attention to this and compel further action.
The Joint Enquiry Team
The Chief Constable, Mr. R. Hadfield and the Director of Social Services, Mr. D. White, recognised that massive differences of opinion had developed between officers of their respective departments and positive action was needed to progress further. Their decision was that a Joint Unit staffed by Police Officers and Social Workers who had no involvement with the evidence gathering, file preparation and trial of the extended T. Family should be set up. The staffing for the Joint Unit was decided by the respective Chief Officers and the following personnel were selected on a full-time basis:-
Detective Sergeant George THORPE (West Bridgford CID)
Detective Constable Wendy GLENN (West Bridgford CID)
David LONG, Senior Social Worker (Radford Social Services Office)
Margaret GREGORY, Senior Social Worker (Kings Mill Hospital, Mansfield)
For operational purposes the Unit was jointly managed by Detective Superintendent Bob DAVY, (Deputy Head - Nottinghamshire CID), and John GWATKIN, (Area Director, Nottinghamshire Social Services - Newark), who retained the responsibility for their respective posts. The Joint Unit worked from accommodation at West Bridgford Police Station, Nottingham, and had access for advice and guidance to Chief Officer level, in the case of the Police - Mr. E. GRIFFITH, Assistant Chief Constable (Operations), and in the case of Social Services - Mr. B. NEWELL, Deputy Director of Social Services.
The Terms of Reference for the Joint Unit were outlined as follows:-
d) You are asked to explore these items and seek to resolve them.
A Joint Memorandum to the staff seconded to the Unit was issued by the Director of Social Services and the Chief Constable, and brief information giving details of the Joint Unit was circulated within the two Departments.
The Team's Work
The team commenced work on the 10th July 1989 and immediately arranged a meeting with the social workers responsible for the children of the extended T. family. At this meeting it was emphasised that the purpose of the Enquiry was the protection of known or unknown children from abuse and that it was not an Enquiry into the conduct of staff. We have tried to keep to the spirit of this and no individuals of the respective departments are named in this report. We have not interviewed any staff or obtained any information with the purpose or intention of making judgements on staff although inevitably views may be formed from our findings.
It must be emphasised that these original conditions imposed upon the Enquiry Team prevented us from interviewing the relevant staff with regard to their work with particular children. We have come to some of our conclusions based upon the records and additional interviews with children who were not part of the original enquiry. Inevitably this report cannot give a complete picture but hopefully will point the way to further work.
During the course of an enquiry which lasted five months the following areas of work were covered by the Team:-
[Lily] and [Alice]
[Reggie] and [Melissa]
[Colin] and [Florence]
[Donna] and [Teresa]
14. Attendance at presentations in respect of Satanic/ritualistic child abuse at Reading and Mapperley (Child Line). A representative was sent to the Area Directors' and BASPCAN presentations.
15. Research into Satanism/Witchcraft and the international experience (a bibliography is attached).
The Enquiry proved to be extremely complex and led in unexpected directions.
After re-reading the original report which was unnecessarily repetitious we have decided on the following format:-
The Development of the Enquiry
STAGE 1 Preliminary investigation into background material.
STAGE 2 Interviews with Senior Personnel in the respective departments.
STAGE 3 Places and People investigated.
STAGE 4 Analysis of the Children's disclosures
Research into Satanism and Witchcraft.
Research into the International scene and the literature from the USA.
Interviews with the experts used by Social Services
STAGE 5 The disclosures of [Mary] and the other satellite cases.
Research into other cases in the UK.
Summary of Findings
Implications of the Findings:-
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENQUIRY
It should be noted that the following stages through which the Enquiry progressed overlapped to some extent but we consider that it is important to illustrate how the Team's views developed.
STAGE 1 - Preliminary Investigation into Background Material
We knew nothing about the Broxtowe cases when we started and our first endeavour was to acquire and read all the background information that appeared to be relevant or that was offered to us. This included the following:-
- The official Police files
- The Wardship papers on Social Services files
- The Children's files
- The Diaries that had been kept by the foster parents
We made it clear at the outset that we would want to look at anything that was considered to be relevant but obviously in this respect had to depend upon the social workers who knew the case well.
STAGE 2 - Interviews with the Senior Personnel in the Respective Departments who had been involved in the Broxtowe case and its aftermath
a) The Police
We considered that it was important to find out what had actually been investigated in the Gollom enquiry, and the findings. Without this knowledge we had no way of knowing at what stage it had ended. We also considered it important to find out the Police perspective on the case. From this interview we learned that the continuation of the Diaries had caused the Police anxiety as they constituted a threat to the successful prosecution. We could surmise that the Police felt betrayed that their request had apparently been ignored. It became clear that the Police had checked locations more thoroughly than the Social Services Department had realised and had, for example interviewed neighbours of the T. family.
We were told that the Police had approached this investigation with an open mind and even a sense of anticipation of something interesting. They had, however, been rapidly disillusioned by the lack of evidence and a realization that the corroborating adults were in their view totally unreliable. In an attempt to explain this they had analysed the Diaries and had come to the conclusion that the children and foster parents were influencing each other, possibly through the fortnightly foster parent support meetings.
The Police were highly suspicious of the involvement of the media and Mr. W, particularly after they discovered that the media, who wanted to make a good T.V. programme, had supplied Mr. W. with the Satanic indictors that he used when briefing the foster parents.
The Police speculated that the Social Services Department had been manipulated.
b) Social Services
As with the Police we considered it important to find out their perception of what had happened since the original criminal Enquiry. We also needed to be aware of the disclosures that they considered had not been investigated to their satisfaction and the disclosures that had not been investigated at all.
We also wanted to know on what they based their current thinking. The Social Services staff stated that their concern was due to their perception of the Police attitude and they thought investigations may not have been thorough because of this. More recent information appeared to cast doubt on the Police findings. They did not feel that the Police could in any case investigate properly if they had no knowledge of what they were investigating. Their view that the Broxtowe case could involve Satanic ritual abuse, with the implications that other adults would be involved and other children would be at risk, was based upon the following:-
In another interview we were given a briefing on the knowledge acquired about Satanic abuse and its implications.
STAGE 3 - Place and People Investigated
A decision was made at the start of the Enquiry that these investigations would include both the Police and the Social Workers in order to obtain a balanced view.
We started the Enquiry with an open mind and did not know where it would lead us. Indeed one of the team was sufficiently worried that he went Ex-Directory and if anything, with hindsight, would feel that he had been initially biased towards the ritualistic Satanic viewpoint, after preliminary discussions with staff and a perusal of the information presented to him. All of the team were prepared to believe that Satanic abuse could be a reality and we approached our task with an initial premise that it was true until proved otherwise. It followed from this, for example, that strenuous efforts were made to locate tunnels under Wollaton Hall and the Police Support Unit was used in an attempt to establish that they were there. Some bones were found in a small storage cellar behind the gentleman's toilets and although the "room" appeared to have been unused for many years and the taxidermist gave a reasonable explanation, the Home Office pathologist was called in to examine the bones.
Likewise when we arranged to interview the three adults who appeared to corroborate the children's disclosures it was decided to allow them a free interview without any probing questions that might discredit them. [Mandy], for example, gave us a lengthy detailed description of the rooms and tunnels used under Wollaton Hall and the following day she was given every opportunity there with her social worker to verify what she had told us. With regard to [Vivian]'s allegations, although they appeared to be absurd, enquiries were made at the Queen's Medical Centre regarding the disposal of foetuses.
A number of places had been indicated by the adult witnesses and by the children during 1988 as locations for Satanic ritual abuse ceremonies. Many of these had been investigated during the Gollom enquiry but were reinvestigated. They included the following:-
Wollaton Hall The children and [Mandy] and [Jane] identified tunnels and a room. They do not exist.
St Mary's Church The children identified tunnels and an underground room. They do not exist.
Private Dwelling, Ruddington [Mandy] identified a room under the stables. It does not exist.
Old Lodge Gates The children and [Mandy] identified tunnels running to Wollaton Hall. They do not exist.
Private Dwelling, Derby Road The children, [Mandy] and [Jane] alleged an underground room, tunnels leading to Wollaton Hall and an outdoor swimming pool. The former do not exist and the latter which is indoors did not exist at the time of the disclosures. (On audio tape [Mandy] claimed that it was an outdoor swimming pool and that the police must have been blind if they could not see it.)
Private Dwelling, Lenton Avenue [Jane] identified a swimming pool. It does not exist.
With respect to these premises it is clear that the children and the adults of the extended family had not been telling the truth.
As [Mandy] and [Vivian] were the corroborating adults from the extended family we interviewed them and the audio-tapes are available. [Mandy] gave us an amazing description of the rooms under Wollaton Hall, the entrances and the tunnel lit by torchlights leading to Derby Road. On being taken to Wollaton Hall she could not identify anything and it was apparent that she had little knowledge of the place. The Enquiry Team took [Vivian] for a trip into Derbyshire and although it was obvious that she had no idea where she was she identified a house that she claimed had a butler, a secret passage and an underground room with four dead bodies in it. The Enquiry team later visited this property and found that it was a complete fabrication.
[Jane] the third corroborative member of the extended family had already made a statement of retraction to the Police on the 22nd August 1988. She confirmed to us that this second statement was the truth and that she still stood by it. In it she states that she was interviewed by her social worker about 20 times before she made her Affidavit to the Wardship Court about witch parties and big houses. In this statement [Jane] claims that The information she gave subsequently misled the Wardship Court and that her evidence was the result of "pressure" from her social worker. She comments that the only things that she knows about witchcraft and magic are "the things I've seen on the telly" and with reference to [Mandy] "I know she is telling lies". At this stage of the Enquiry we did not realise the possible significance of this Statement.
All of these adults will tell you anything, have suggested the impossible and have been found to be lying in every respect that could actually be checked. They are highly suggestible and will related anything that comes into their heads. We would suggest that the video tape made by [Mandy] is a good example of this. In our view they could not be considered corroborative witnesses of anything that the children have said. It has been put to us that even if unreliable it was too much of a coincidence that they were talking about witch parties independently of the children. We know, however, that the Social Services Departments Affidavits with copies of the children's diaries attached were left in the Broxtowe households. At the very end of the Enquiry after the Report had been typed we found evidence from the files that [Jane] had been shown copies of the children's Affidavits with the attached diaries by her social worker.
At the end of these investigations we could not find any evidence to support the children's disclosures and in our view the apparent corroboration by the adult members of the family was illusory.
STAGE 4 - Analysis of the Children's Disclosures
Research into Satanism and Witchcraft
Research into the International scene and the literature from the USA
Interviews with the Experts used by Social Services
We decided that we needed to try a different approach as we were left with the children's disclosures on the one hand and a total lack of supporting evidence on the other. It was at this point that the previous investigation had broken down. At the December 1988 meeting the Police reported that there was no evidence and the social workers replied that they were left with the children's stories. It is interesting to note that the Canadian and Dutch experience had been the same and they had fared no better than Nottinghamshire. We have the advantage, however, that our investigations had been done together as one 'protective' agency and there was no dispute over the findings.
(i) Analysis of the Children's Disclosures
We decided that we needed to undertake a much more detailed study of the Children's Diaries as they were the "foundation stone" for the belief in the existence of Satanic ritual abuse in the Broxtowe cases and the view that other children were at risk. The children in the Broxtowe case talked about the following:-
The following contain our observations on these disclosures extracted from the full report:-
The Form of the Disclosures
The children were not interviewed formally by social workers but the foster parents kept diaries recording anything unusual that the children said or did.
It is important to realise that contrary to normal disclosure work, we do not have "a story" informing us of Who? Where? When? How? The children have never been formally interviewed on the "Satanic" allegations recorded in the diaries except for claims of murders on a boat in December 1988. The nature of the disclosures, therefore, is what might be termed a "flow of consciousness" rather then any connected story. For example, in a normal disclosure you might have a story in which a child roughly indicates when it was taken on a journey to a house, how it was taken, who it was with, where it was and what happened there.
Although it has been stated that social workers were convinced by the number of children telling the same story the significant diaries really reduce to four children in three foster homes.
The Need to Interpret
We have been told that we must suspend disbelief and that children should be believed by the first statement that needs to be made is that the diaries cannot be taken literally but have to be interpreted. If we do not accept this we would have to accept the following as literal true statements:-
"the family kill a big sheep with their fingernails and take it to the hospital to get better and bring it back" (CH 21.1.88)
"My mum flies on a broomstick" (JB 22.1.88)
"They throw lots of babies in the bins. I was murdered when I was a baby and shoved in the bin" (LW 26.2.88)
"They kill all of us at the parties. I'm Superman at the parties and I kill the witches" (CH 25.4.88)
In fact most of the children disclosing would actually be dead. It is clear to us that anybody looking at these diaries must interpret and it is insufficient to say that "they were telling the truth" or "we believe the children".
Furthermore, we do not consider that suspending disbelief should also mean a suspension of commonsense or the use of critical faculties. We have looked at these diaries within their context, without being selective, with an awareness of possible influences upon the foster parents and the children and with knowledge of basic child psychology.
The Context of the Disclosures
The first fact that strikes you is that until Mr. W. briefed the foster parents with the Satanic indicators all four children were talking entirely about their family, of which seven are ESN, being involved in sexual abuse and what they call witch parties. There are only vague references to strangers.
The second, even more pertinent fact, is that until Mr. W.'s presentation of the Satanic indicators all the children are talking about sexual abuse and the witches parties at their homes. It is not until the 5.3.88 that they start to talk about a big house with a swimming pool and even then, only with reference to sexual abuse and nothing 'Satanic'. They only start to identify other locations in the context of witch parties in July 1988 when the foster parents had been asked to take the children around to identify locations.
The children all lived in typical semi-detached council houses on council estates. As we all know the walls of these houses are paper thin, the rooms are very small with the average living room being 14' by 12' and they have open gardens. In our experience it is virtually impossible on council estates to keep anything secret that can be seen or heard (unfortunately sexual abuse is often neither) and information and particularly anything of a spicy or bizarre nature passes around very quickly.
The family were under constant surveillance from the authorities and from an interview with a neighbour it is clear that they attracted attention to themselves as these families often do. The neighbour states that she had "seen young children naked in the garden eating their own excrement and running around the garden naked or [with] very little on even on freezing cold days". She adds that "any talk of witchcraft or any type of Satanic practices regarding the family surprises me a great deal. I have never head or witnessed anything like that on this estate before". The neighbours do maintain that the family used to frequently return from the pub and continued 'parties' with a lot of shouting and swearing.
Despite this the social workers have accepted that the family were having witch parties at which sheep were being slaughtered in the front room or the back garden and the front garden and were subsequently left in the garages in wheelie bins, that abortions were committed in the front room, that more than eight witches danced around singing in the front room, that later one of the children had her stomach cut open on a table in the front room and that [Mary] witnessed seven children being killed along with acts of cannibalism. We do not consider that the belief that this could be kept secret matches basic commonsense or reality. Outside of the babies and the children, sheep are large, noisy, difficult animals and when one was slaughtered by an Indian on a council estate in Leicester it hit the national newspaper headlines the following day. In our view another explanation has to be sought.
The Diaries of Individual Children
[Craig] was only 3 years of age when he left home in December 1986 and was only 4 years of age when he was trying to recall events that could only have happened between July and December 1986, i.e. between 2 ½ and 3 years of age. [Craig] is particularly significant because he had been in care for a year before the other children and some major themes start with him; witches (27.11.87), killing sheep (21.1.88), babies being killed (21.1.88), Selina (3.3.88), blood in the bath (27.2.88), Mr. Brown, the first stranger identified (10.3.88), Mr Pooh Pants (22.1.89). [Craig]'s diaries for November, December 1987 and January 1988 are clearly talking about his family at home, "my granddad's a monster, both daddies are clowns, etc. He mentions daddy dressing up as a witch (21.11.87) but according to his foster parent he went to his school panto on the 9th December where an older girl was dressed as a witch and since getting home (and subsequently) had never stopped talking about the family being witches who hurt him.
It is clear that anybody who has hurt or frightened [Craig] is a witch, monster or clown. His description of witches, who are all members of his family is the traditional one of a young child; they fly on broomsticks, have black teeth, long sharp fingernails, long black hair, dance around singing "witchy, witchy, witchy" except that they also sexually abuse him, bite his bum and pooh on the carpet. In with this he mixes Dracula, Soldiers, Swords and Dragons and shooting with guns. [Craig] is the first to introduce the idea of babies and children being killed but as you would expect of a child of this age he has no real concept of killing or death and quite happily and unchallenged talks about killing a baby and "then it was alright, killing a relative (who is of course still alive), killing all the children at the parties and himself killing the witches, [James] being killed and [Rebecca] being killed and made better. [Craig] also complains that his social worker has murdered him because she shouted at him.
Likewise, [Craig] introduces the concept of sheep being killed with bare hands, sticks and knives but also being taken to hospital to be made better. He clearly refers to his father being big mister but this is later translated into the master who organises the Satanic rites. After he had witnessed his foster mother giving a blood sample at hospital and on the same day watches 'Jaws' (which contains sufficient blood and water for anybody) he accuses the foster mother of having a bath full of blood, a theme that he pursues for some months. It is clear that [Craig] has a fascination and strong identification with Superman and in March talks about Superman's girlfriend being Lina (actually Lois Lane or Miss Lane). His speech is never clear and on questioning he answers 'S'Lina' which become 'Selina' because of the significance in the literature of a Selina as a Satanic figure. Likewise he mentions a little puppet but corrects himself, this was translated by social workers into poppet as these are the dolls that witches are supposed to stick pins in (although they are actually "moppets").
In March [Craig] is talking about the black staff at his nursery (an Indian lady) and in May he begins to talk about Mrs. Brown. In May he is the first child to identify locations away from the family home - a Church where the murderers hang you and the house with the swimming pool.
He was only 21 months old when he left home to be placed in the same foster home as his brother. Not surprisingly he says very little except that on the 7 July 1988 he claims that his daddy took a baby up in a balloon and stabbed it and them cooked it. His foster mother records that on the 31 August 1988 after his social worker left he had talked non-stop about ghosts and snakes. His only other comment was in June 1988 when he passed the Church at the back of Wollaton Park (previously identified by the other children) and stated that it was the Devil's Church.
[James] was the oldest child at 7 years 4 months when he left home but is ESN. As with [Craig]'s diary November, December 1987 and January, February 1988 he talks exclusively about his family being monsters, witches and clowns who hit and burn him at their homes, He has the same concept of witches as [Craig] and claims that they have curly black hair and broomsticks. He tends to agree with [Rebecca] or is prompted by leading questions, e.g. shown book of animals, asked about sheep at witch parties, asked about strange men at witch parties, asked about house with swimming pool, asked about Tony, asked about Mr. Brown, asked about going to a farm and the boat.
Interestingly he tells his foster mother that [Rebecca] was wrong about the babies. Of similar age to his sister and in the same foster home with her his disclosing cannot be separated from [Rebecca]'s as it is clear that the foster mother discusses things with them together. [James] claimed that [Mary] was present at the witch parties which she now denies.
As with [James] starts to talk about the family having witch parties at home in July 1988 two months after [Craig]. However, it is [Rebecca] on the 5 March 1988 who first tells about being taken in a car with a driver who is a stranger to a house where they are sexually abused in a secret bedroom and videoed. She is supported by [James] on the 17 March 1988 who talks about two large houses with swimming pools and the children being transported by taxi. [Lily] confirms this and adds that they go in the car with Uncle Brown.
These Diaries March-May 1988 in which they talk about an unknown place and strangers are interesting in that only sexual abuse is described without any mention of witchcraft parties, slaughter of animals, babies, etc, It is the only part of the Diaries that has received any sort of corroboration to the extent that one of the prisoners when interviewed in prison claimed that his wife had a friend called Mr. Brown who went off with her and the children and that she had another friend called Roy who was a taxi driver, There must be a suspicion that the children might have been taken elsewhere to be abused by paedophiles although reference should be made to the section "influences on the children".
Unfortunately this information was never extracted together and the children were never interviewed by social workers or Police to ascertain whether they could tell a coherent story of what, when, who, where, how, etc. If they were abused in this way with the involvement of strangers it could have happened only six months previously. [Rebecca]'s diaries for April and May 1988 are missing and we next find her talking about other locations where witch parties took place in August 1988 after questioning by her foster mother. At this stage she claims that her father cut her stomach open in the living room and that the doctors and nurses at the hospital were witches who came to the witch parties at the Archway, Wollaton Park. At this point it is worth commenting on the cutting up and stabbing of children in a council house living room. We know that [Rebecca] had previously been to hospital and had an operation scar on her stomach identified as his by the surgeon.
Subsequently in the desire to believe [Rebecca] it was suggested that Satanists were clever people and that they had cut her along the same scar so it could not be noticed. We know that this is medically impossible. All surgeons can recognise their own operations and scar tissue does not heal or if it does would be puckered and very distorted. If you had watched too many westerns in which bullets are cut out shoulders you might believe that operations could be conducted successfully in a dirty council sitting room.
However, in reality it is doubtful whether a G.P. could do this without serious medical consequences and even a skilled surgeon with sterilized instruments and trained nurse would have difficulty in a non-sterile room never mind in the middle of a witch party. Likewise in believing the children there appears to be little conception of the consequences of stabbing and mutilating animals or children. We have been told that plastic sheeting would be put on the floor (assuming that all the furniture had been taken out) but blood under pressure, as any policeman knows, would splatter the walls and ceiling extensively and the smell of mutilated babies in wheelie bins or garages would be overpowering. In our view there is no way that this sort of practice could take place in a semi-detached council house undetected. Initially [Rebecca] talked about dolls not real babies. [Rebecca] claimed that [Mary] was present at the witch parties which is now denied by [Mary].
Her diaries are missing but in any case as the youngest of the B. children she would tend to agree with her brother and sister.
[Lily] was aged 5 years when she left home with [Maggie] and joined her older sister [Anna] who had been in care for eight years. In the diaries for November, December 1987 and January she is consistent with [Craig], [Rebecca] and [James] in identifying home and the family, except that she talks about parties but not specifically witches. The main content during this period is of the family at home burning her with sticks. After Mr. W.'s presentation on the 9th February 1988 she talks on the 19th February 1988 about the murder of babies and the bath being full of blood. In March to May 1988 she agrees with [James] and [Rebecca]'s story about the house with the swimming pool but after that says nothing significant until months later when she talks about the fantastic castle, murders on a boat, Mr Pooh Pants and a local vicar's involvement.
On the 8.5.89 after watching a Blue Peter programme on the caves under Nottingham she identifies this as a place where there were monsters.
The same age as [Rebecca] and, therefore, the second oldest child. [Maggie] despite being in the same household as [Lily] says nothing except in reply to direct questioning: 'Yes' in support of [Lily] talking about the big house (10.3.88) until 10 months later when she claims that all the family killed and ate a man on a boat and Mr. Pooh Pants burnt a body. Otherwise she never talks about witch parties, killing of animals, babies etc.
Aged 11 years at the time of the disclosures [Anna] had been in care since 1980 when she was 2 and a half. The only disclosures she made are in January 1988 having been prompted by her sister's talk. She then talks about witches, a "baby doll" with a willie being used, being buried in the garden, eating spiders, etc. We know from the records that at the time [Anna]'s favourite library books were witch stories. [Anna] talks about either her uncle or grandfather being dressed as a devil and being called Master. This has been taken as significant but we do not accept that any child younger than three would remember the name used by anybody eight years ago. Children may recall traumatic events but have little memory of verbal communication as it has little significance to them at that age.
Although slightly older than [Craig] when he left home [David] says nothing of significance.
Left home at 20 months, the same age as [Kevin] but says nothing.
Left home at 2 and a half years, the age at which [Craig] remembers so much but says nothing.
Patterns Suggesting 'Contamination'
It has been claimed that there were many children talking independently and that this was strong corroborative proof. However, a foster parent told us that she took [Lily], [Maggie] and [David] to visit [Craig] on the 20.10.87, the day after they came into care, and again two days later and that there was continued contact between the children. A careful reading of the diaries would suggest some sort of communication between them or their three foster parents. We would offer the following as examples:-
21.1.88 [Craig] tells his foster mother of killing sheep at witch parties - they both agreed they had sheep.
9.2.88 (After Mr. W.'s briefing) Foster mother asks [James] about sheep at witch parties.
25.2.88 Foster mother asks [Lily] about animals at witch parties.
Blood in Bath
26.2.88 [Lily] tells foster mother about bath full of blood.
27.2.88 [Craig] claims bath full of blood to his foster mother.
17.3.88 [James] tells his foster mother that sheep's blood is put in the bath.
21.1.88 [Craig] tells his foster mother about killing babies.
10.2.88 [Lily] tells mother about killing babies.
11.2.88 [Craig] tells foster mother about killing babies.
21.2.88 [Rebecca] tells foster mother about killing babies.
10.5.88 [Craig] tells foster mother about Mr. Brown.
12.5.88 [Lily] tells foster mother about Mr. Brown.
[Rebecca]'s Stomach Being Cut by Father
28.8.88 [Rebecca] tells foster mother about being cut.
19.9.88 [Rebecca] tells foster mother again about being cut.
11.2.89 [Craig] tells foster mother about [Rebecca] being cut.
Mr Pooh Pants
14.2.87 [Craig] tells foster mother about Mr. Pooh Pants.
1.3.87 [Craig] tells foster mother about Mr. Pooh Pants again.
13.4.87 [Lily] tells foster mother about Mr. Pooh Pants.
1.5.87 [Craig] tells foster mother again about Mr. Pooh Pants.
2.5.87 [Maggie] tells foster mother about Mr. Pooh Pants.
Big House with Swimming Pool
9.3.89 [Rebecca] tells foster mother about the big house with the swimming pool.
10.3.89 [Lily] tells foster mother about the big house with the swimming pool.
14.3.89 [Craig] tells foster mother about the big house with the swimming pool.
3.3.89 [Craig] tells foster mother about Selina.
21.3.89 [Craig] tells foster mother about Selina again.
8.4.89 [Lily] tells foster mother about Selina.
6.5.89 [Craig] repeats it to foster mother.
12.5.89 [Lily] repeats it to foster mother.
Influences upon the Foster Parents
On the 9.2.88 Mr. W. having been contracted to Social Services as an expert gave a presentation to the foster parents using the Satanic Indicators of an alleged American Expert. These were passed around the foster parents. One foster parent claims great stress was laid upon them and they were told what to look for. These indicators emphasize transportation to other places, animal sacrifices, drinking of blood, eating flesh, defiling children with urine and faeces, monsters and ghosts, a mysterious church, killing of children etc.
This expert signs himself MSW Medical Social Consultant. The British Embassy in Washington has informed us that Mr. M. is described by a Senior FBI Officer as just a social worker with no medical background and his opinions are not taken very seriously. Mr. M. is unpublished and has no education pedigree. It is our opinion that these indicators had a profound effect upon both the foster parents and the social workers. Prior to this the children had not talked about anything but their own family and 'abuse' at their homes. From this time the foster parents appear to take the children's perceptions as reality and do not question them. The style of the diaries changes with the foster parents taking an interrogative approach in a desire to elicit more information and using many leading questions e.g.
Have you been to this big house?
Do you know Tony?
Is Mr. Brown there?
Have you ever been to a farm?
The foster parents are quite clearly trying to find out whether any strangers have been involved and whether there are any other locations used. The foster parents, according to one foster parent, were asked to take the children around to identify places and photos were used to identify other people. This foster mother states that she eventually refused to take the children to try and locate places. It is not surprising to us that after the 9th February the killing of children, (and by the 7th July 1988 the eating of them), the slaughter of animals, the identification of doctors and nurses and vicars as witches (as well as a whole congregation) and the identification of Churches and hospitals takes place. The children knew the foster parents wanted them to identify places and people and would have wanted to please them.
Influences upon the Children
It has to be taken into account that children of this age have a wish to please adults. They are taught from an early age to give the right answer, i.e. the one that pleases adults. They do not have an adult sense of reality and their perceptions are a confused mixture of imagination, fantasy and actuality. This particularly applies to disturbed children trying to make sense of their past. It is easy to confuse and manipulate very young children and they can become quite adept themselves at manipulating adults. There are occasions in the diaries when the children deflect the adults from naughty behaviour by talking about their experiences. Children are also adept at getting attention by telling adults what they want to hear. If you ask a child to identify animals used at witch parties from a book they will obviously talk about the animals most familiar to them, i.e. cats, cows, dogs, rabbits and sheep. (Ba Ba Black Sheep is one of [Craig]'s favourites.) After that sheep will continue. Most adults are unwilling not to identify somebody at an identity parade and any young child shown a photograph will answer in the affirmative, particularly if that arouses interest.
Children will almost always say yes (as happens in the diaries) when asked a leading question. When [Craig] talks about chopping up Jesus and eating him off a silver plate as a three year old he could just as easily be thinking of the Communion when it is stated 'eat, this is my body' and 'drink, this is my blood' and a wafer is given off a silver plate. When he appears to talk gibberish about M's baby being killed on the 26 February he had been watching Jaws and it could easily be an admixture: knife in tummy (the shark is knifed), comes back to life again (the shark does) put in a cage (this features in the film) and 'they shooted her' (the shark is shot). With young children one can only listen to them and then use our commonsense to interpret. With the foster parents having been influenced by Mr. W. we would be surprised if they in turn did not unwittingly influence the children. It would seem to us highly likely that by May 1988 the children would be identifying all sorts of places for witchcraft parties as they would know the adults were looking for them and it would please them. In our view the desire to please adults would probably rule everything out they say after May 1988 unless they were properly questioned by people who were not caring for them.
During the course of this Enquiry we have looked for possible external influences upon the children. We know, for example, that [Mandy] who was the main baby-sitter for the family claims that she always wanted to be a witch. It is apparent that much library material for children of this age is about witches, monsters, wizards, ghosts, etc. However, we were particularly interested in the local authoress Helen Cresswell who writes about witches and whose books are used in local schools. Children are taken on school field trips to Rufford Park and Wellow as the 'Secret World of Polly Flint' is based upon these places. When we randomly asked an eight year old what she remembered about this she replied 'under the ground, room, the park, tunnels, boats, dancing around and weird people!'
'The Secret World of Polly Flint' was shown on children's television in 1987 and includes the following: the park, the lake, rings of dancers, spiders, magic secret time tunnel, abbey, animals graves, powers, the ice house, boat and witches.
In 1988 a second book the 'Moondial' was shown on children's television. This includes the following: a big house with a smaller one nearby, church, hospital, tunnel, monster, Mr. Wolf, Devil's Child, ghost, sticking pins in a wax image to cause death, graveyard, witches, cats, the Devil, grotesque coloured masks, a lion mask and rings of chanting children. It might also be significant that there are also pumpkin lanterns (mentioned by one of the children when they are taken in their garden) and also a secret room, four poster bed with hanging curtains, a raised circular pool, a clock that goes tick-tock at a large house.
A four poster bed, a raised pool, a secret room, a grandfather clock are all mentioned in the children's description of the big house with the swimming pool. We do not know whether the children watched these T.V. programmes and would have liked to ask them but were not able to do this.
Of more interest is the discovery that the NSPCC Unit use symbolic objects in helping children to understand good and bad concepts in their therapy work. According to one of the staff these were used with [Claire] and [Anna] and the social workers were advised of their use. [Craig] had six therapy sessions between January and August 1987 well prior to the disclosures. A teacher at a local school used the material in one of the satellite cases. The material used includes the following:-
Our interpretation of the diaries based on the foregoing does not support the view that the children have been involved in organised Satanic ritual or witchcraft ceremonies. All our research both in this country and abroad has revealed that no actual physical empirical evidence has been found anywhere at anytime for Satanic abuse. If you still wish to believe that it exists logically you would have to accept that an organisation has the unique ability to keep it secret. Even relatively secret organisations such as the Masons and the Mafia have never managed to achieve this. At least it would mean that the followers were extremely clever, powerful, wealthy, sophisticated people who could use their power and wealth to ensure privacy.
If this is the case, as it must be, such people would hardly get involved with a family of ESN adults living on a council estate who are the subject of gossip by their neighbours, who are known to the police and who are subject to surveillance by the authorities. It would be too great a risk as they would be discovered within a week. Such a family could not handle it, and could not keep it quiet. The most that we can deduce from the diaries is that these children have been sexually abused and that they may also have been terrorized by sadistic adults who found it amusing to frighten them. This could fit in with the adults laughing (not a normal practice one would assume at ritualistic ceremonies) as the children describe. It could be true that the children have been deliberately burnt (there is plenty of medical evidence for this) made to drink alcohol, locked in the garages, pushed into wheelie bins.
It could even be true that they were made to eat spiders and faeces and had worms put on them and that the adults wore halloween type masks or even used realistic baby dolls to frighten them. If this was the case children of this age trying to make sense of the past would talk of the family being witches, monsters, etc. We know from talking to the adults that one dog was run over in the road and that another dog and its puppies were killed with a knife to save vets bills because they had a disease. We also know from the adult prisoners that at parties after the pub the children were given home-made alcohol to drink which would eventually put them to sleep.
It is possible that the children were taken elsewhere to be sexually abused for money as this part of the disclosures stands out on its own but even here we must be careful as [Craig] identifies Mr. Brown after seeing a brown lady at Nursery and the children's description of a secret room, four poster bed, raised pool and grandfather clock all feature in a T.V. programme shown in the same year. It is true, however, the baby was thrown out with the Satanic bath water as it was never properly investigated by seeking the Judge's permission to interview the children with the police. In summary we came to the conclusion that the Diaries:-
We therefore concluded that although the children may have been terrorized by their sadistic family as well as being sexually abused we could not support the theory of organised Satanic abuse from these diaries.
(ii) Research into Satanism and Witchcraft
Our second approach was to check the reliability of the base knowledge on Satanic abuse that had been presented to us and which we had initially accepted in good faith. We, therefore, did our own research into Satanism and Witchcraft and considered the likelihood of it being involved in the abuse of children. An extensive bibliography is attached at the end of this report.
Our historical research revealed that no empirical evidence was ever produced in the witch trials and convictions were solely based upon confessions made by the accused to priests, who already completely believed in the reality of witchcraft and Satanism. The starting point for the priest was usually a disturbed child who was led into making an accusation (e.g. Scotland and Salem in the 17th Century). It could be said that the priests actually "created the evidence" and by leading and limited choice questions extracted from their victims confessions of devil worship which they themselves had invented.
The other theme that emerged from our research was that from Roman to modern times accusations of Satanism were used as a political weapon to discredit opponents. We then turned our attention to the present scene and researched Temple Magic and in particular OTO which is labelled Satanic and information on modern witchcraft. We were aware that the books we were using might be an apologia or propaganda but we were fortunate to obtain the unpublished and private papers of a probable member of OTO and a former member of a Hampshire coven and these appeared to corroborate that neither organisation was involved in sacrifices, or the abuse of children. There are numerous Satanic/occult magazines and the team visited the house of one of the contributors but found him to be a schizophrenic who rarely left his room except to be admitted to Mental Hospital. According to his father he was obsessed with this type of material and was constantly writing articles. We consider it likely that these magazines and articles are written by such individuals and do not represent any organisation.
(iii) Research into the International Scene (USA, Canada and Holland) and the literature from the USA
Our third approach in this phase of the enquiry was to research what had been happening in the USA. This was undertaken as it was apparent to us that all the information and expert knowledge appeared to be emanating from there. In the USA the whole scenario of Satanic abuse started with the involvement of social worker Kee MacFarlaine of the Los Angeles Children's Institute International Child Sexual Abuse Clinic in the McMartin Infant School case which erupted in August 1983. This was closely followed by the Jordan Minnesota case in September 1983 in which the children alleged babies had been stabbed.
Following these cases there was a rapid nationwide rash of similar Satanic abuse cases in more than a hundred cities. MacFarlaine and her assistants interviewed over 400 children and told them they could be junior detectives by telling the "yukky" secret but would be dummies if they did not admit they had been molested by their teachers.... in the University of Minnesota Law Review she called for unconventional interviewing methods 'that do whatever it takes to get children to talk' .... After repeated interviewing produced statements about bizarre sex rituals in airplanes, hot air balloons, underground tunnels, graveyards, MacFarlaine told the press that the McMartin pre-school was part of a national network of kiddy pornographers and Satanists operating out of day care centres.
Criminal charges involving 41 children were eventually made although the Police initially claimed that they had 36 other suspects and no less than 1200 victims. A ten year old boy testifying in the case identified everyone from the City Attorney to a Priest and four Nuns as having molested him but later retracted. The children claimed to have witnessed Devil worship in the Church, been taken by their captors to cemeteries, been given red or pink liquid to make them sleepy, been buried alive, seen naked priests cavorting in a secret cellar below the school, seen one of the teachers fly and observed three abusers dressed up as witches. Interestingly some of these disclosures bear a marked similarity to those of the Broxtowe children.
The New Statesman recently noted that many of the children's descriptions have a marked similarity to events outlines in "Michelle Remembers" a well publicised book published in 1980. Debbie Nathan in The Voice, September 1987 wrote "In the McMartin case and its mini versions hundreds of children have offered vague, garbled contradictory horror stories with virtually no physical evidence to back them up. After repeated questioning many children have admitted they have lied. But in the minds of many protective service personnel they have merely recanted. Although these cases are not about incest the presumptions of the incest accommodation syndrome (children don't lie about incest but often recant in a desperate attempt to keep the family together) are applied; believe the child, however, sketchy the evidence and never take no for an answer."
The McMartin case, the largest and most expensive criminal trial in the USA, ended in January 1990 (a month after the Joint Enquiry Report was completed) with the acquittal of the defendants. The Daily Telegraph reported that "the verdict is an indictment of methods of investigating allegations of child sexual abuse in the USA. In this case child therapists will likely bear the blame for over-zealous investigations spurred on by their own belief in widespread sexual assault which implanted the bizarre accusations into the children's minds."
All the defendants in the Jordan, Minnesota trial were also acquitted but not before they had been financially ruined and everybody who believed them innocent (including the Deputy Sheriff and his wife) had been arrested so that a total of 24 people were eventually prosecuted. The prosecutor was subsequently reprimanded by the State Board of Professional Responsibility. In the hysteria that spread rapidly across the country in the months and years after the first accusations in August 1983 children alleged sexual abuse in graveyards, crypts and cellars, said that they were involved in rituals requiring the use and often ingestion of blood, that they had seen human bodies being eaten and abuse connected with burned or cooked babies (Chicago and Bakersfield).
Two investigative reporters, Charlier and Downing, who began a survey of ritual abuse in 1987 reported that in most cases the accusations rested on a child's word usually uncorroborated by physical evidence or adult testimony. Debbie Nathan wrote in 1987:
"MacFarlaine is not alone in believing in a Satanic conspiracy afoot throughout the country even though worldwide searches by everyone from parents to the FBI have failed to uncover one dirty picture, barbecued baby body or other incriminating object mentioned by the children who have been extensively interviewed. Lack of evidence does not seem to concern the Satanism proponents. Some believe everything the kids are saying to social workers and therapists is true."
In Bakersfield California Police excavated fields and dragged lakes where the children said the bodies of 23 children sacrificially murdered were located but nothing was found. In Toledo, Ohio police bulldozed a field after being told that a Satanic group had buried the bodies of 75 children there. 'Satanic artefacts' were found but no remains.
In Canada one of the most expensive and longest criminal trials started in 1985 in Hamilton Ontario after two children aged 7 and 4 alleged to their foster parents who kept drawings and diaries that they were forced to take part in acts of cannibalism, Satanic rituals, human and animal sacrifices and bizarre sexual activities. The children were committed to care but no physical evidence supporting the allegations was found and the Police closed the case which resulted in considerable conflict with the welfare agencies. It is interesting that similar allegations of ritual abuse were subsequently made by unrelated children who were placed in the same foster home.
It has recently been reported that at Oude Pekela in Holland an 18 months investigation into Satanic abuse by the police provided no concrete and incriminating evidence and the result of this investigation led to a breakdown in relationships between the Police and the welfare agencies.
We were particularly interested in the author of the Satanic indictors which Mr. W. had used to brief the staff and the children's foster parents. We asked the British Embassy in Washington USA to research his background and received the reply that he had no medical background (despite his claim to be a medical consultant) and that he was a social worker who was unpublished, had no educational pedigree and that he was not taken very seriously by the FBI. The Embassy also reported that they could find no evidence in the USA to directly connect 'Satanic Cult' groups with child abuse. We had been suspicious that this expert claimed that victims of Satanic abuse were "often in day centres" and that in his guidelines to Police investigation he stated "approach all Day Care Centres as all kids are victims and all teachers are perpetrators until your field is narrowed".
We had previously been made aware that an extreme right wing branch of the Republican Party funded by Presidential Candidate, Lyndon La Rouche had been spreading material throughout the USA claiming that Day Centre Workers, Social Workers and other 'lefties' were Satanists abusing children and that this was part of a communist conspiracy to undermine the family. Apparently extreme right-wingers were unhappy at the allegation of parents sexually abusing their children as they perceived this as an attack upon the family. As a response they had conceived the conspiracy theory as an alternative explanation. We do not know whether this was an influence in the USA cases but we understand many of the convictions were of Day Care Workers based solely upon the bizarre testimony of young children as related to experts without any actual corroborative evidence. In view of this scenario and our research into American cases we would not accept that any literature from the USA is reliable unless it is supported by corroborative empirical evidence.
(iv) Interviews with Experts previously used by Social Services
Our fourth approach was to check upon the basis for the experts' views. As Mr. W. was paid as a consultant by Social Services and used the Satanic indicators to brief the foster parents we interviewed him first. In our view he was extremely vague and evasive and could give no evidence to support his assertions beyond a few cases that we subsequently checked with negative results. Likewise, Dr. W. was in our opinion vague and could provide us with no evidence for his claims. The Adviser to the Bishop on the Occult was in our view vague and could provide us with no evidence that could be checked.
The Researcher for the Cook Programme from whom Mr. W. obtained the Satanic indicators told us that after three years research he had found no tangible evidence of Satanic abuse and doubted its existence. The NSPCC in London were contacted but referred us to Nottingham Social Services who had provided them with their material. They were not aware of any other cases.
At this stage in our enquiry we had begun to form the view that Satanic abuse as a phenomenon was based on either or both of the following:-
- a political weapon to discredit opponents
- therapists unwittingly inventing it themselves.
We had not found any physical corroborative evidence in the Broxtowe case and no longer believed the children's diaries substantiated the claim of Satanic abuse. In our view they reflected other influences and were open to alternative interpretations. Our research indicated that nobody else had found corroborative physical evidence either. All the evidence for its existence appears to be based upon disturbed children and adults claiming involvement during interviews by social workers, psychiatrists, and Church Ministers who already themselves believed in its existence. It seemed possible that Satanic abuse only existed in the minds of people who wanted or needed to believe in it. In the USA the result had been a modern day witch hunt which had ruined the lives of many innocent people.
Stage 5 - The Disclosures of [Mary] and the other children in the 'Satellite' Cases
At the start of the enquiry we were made aware that [Mary], a seventeen year old member of the Broxtowe family, was intimating that young children had been murdered. After this [Mary] was subjected to three months of therapeutic work by her social workers at the end of which the team was presented with a thirty five page transcript of disclosures that she had witnessed and been involved in at least seven child murders and acts of cannibalism at her parents home during access visits.
The transcript was presented to us as the basis for a full Police investigation. We were very concerned by this disclosure material as it was clearly full of leading and limited choice questioning. It was apparent to us that the social workers must have been interviewing [Mary] on the basis that they believed [Craig], [James] and [Rebecca] when they claimed that she had been present at witch parties. The social workers told [Mary] that "we need to know everything" and all her inconsistent replies are treated as reality. We consider it essential to provide a lengthy extract from this transcript as the work with [Mary] is important to some of the conclusions in this report.
As far as we are aware the social workers still consider that their work was satisfactory as the Area Director wrote to us after our views were made known to him "that the work was well planned and based on sound theory" and that "my workers were most unhappy at the way in which [Mary] was interviewed (by the Police)".
The following gives a flavour of the type of questions asked and some of [Mary]'s answers (which are in brackets). "Your father's killed a baby more than once." "We know that your father delivered a foetus and aborted it - he drank the baby's blood" (M. I didn't know anything about that) "You tell us about things that happen when you were there" (M. I ate the stomach my dad ate the head) "What part of the head?" "What's special about the stomach?" "Did anybody say why you should eat the baby?" "Dad brought the baby and the wheelie bin, what then?"
"When you ate the stomach, were you told it was good for you?" "Did you say any words, prayers, chants?" "That's one occasion when you had to eat part of a baby - I'd like you to tell us about parties where that happened." "Other parties where babies are killed." "You had to eat babies more than once" (M. I can't remember) "We think you did." "Whose baby?" "Who brought it?" "A name?" "Difficult to remember who asked you to kill the baby" (M. I didn't kill it) "Who told you to?" "Did she give you a knife?" (M. No) "I think she did." "I think you had to do it you were scared something might happen to you." "Did the social worker stay?" "You were asked to kill the baby." "You had to do it." "How was it killed?" "Last time we met you talked about an 11 year old boy being killed" (M. I heard it on the news, he was murdered and thrown in the Trent, I don't know who by).
"Let's have older children you've seen murdered" (M. at a house someone murdered a kid that's all I remember) "How old?" "Who was there?" "Who ate it?" "Did they have to drink the blood?" "We think you were made to." "Did many people get buried in mum's back garden?" "That's not right. You said babies were buried somewhere else." "Who was buried in the front garden?" "Mum put the knife in and made you do it." "You did it that's why you're frightened." "You quite liked drinking blood and that made you guilty." "She made you eat him." "Does mum wear special clothes?" "Tell us about the adults that have been killed" "and the Church." "Did you sexually abuse the little boy before you were made to kill it?"
"Did someone give birth to that baby at the big house?" "When you got there was the lady aborting the baby?" "What did it taste like?" "What parts did you eat?" "What other reasons id people in your family kill babies for?" "At the Church drinking blood" "Who told dad to kill?" (M. don't know) "I think you did." "Does he murder on any special days or times?" "[Craig] talked to me about granddad drinking blood what would [Craig] say he drinks blood for?" "[Craig] says [Mary] was there" (M. to please the Devil) "That's what [Craig] was told is that what [Mary] was told?" "You were told the Devil would be please." "[Craig] was told it would do special things for him. Things your family did for the Devil." "Things happened to [James], [Rebecca], special things I don't know if special things happened to you, you haven't told us yet."
"Your family did this because they believe in the Devil" "Who else had the same belief outside the family?" "Names?" "Outside the family (M. Robin the whole Church) "Some people in this are important people." "You killed at least one baby, more than one, 3?, 30? how many?" "If you didn't feel (guilty) you might go on killing."
It seems to us that the whole purpose of the therapy is to prove that [Mary] was involved in Satanism and to find out who further she would implicate. The questioning moves from establishing that she has killed and eaten babies and likes drinking human blood to questions about the adults involved and a Church, whether special days were used, whether special clothes were worn, whether prayers, words, or chants were used. It appears to be finally established to the social workers' satisfaction that all this has happened because [Mary]'s family are involved in 'Devil Worship'. The work appears to have all the elements of an interrogation; leading and limited choice questions (e.g. you killed at least one baby, more than one, 3?, 30? How many?) Statements make her believe that she had already admitted something, the sudden demand for 'a name' and "the Church", 'names' to catch her off guard are also employed. The questioner appears to have no doubt that the person being questioned is involved and the task is to make them "confess" by any means available. It is reminiscent of MacFarlaine's attitude in the McMartin trial when she calls for unconventional interviewing methods that "do whatever it takes to get children to talk". However, to believe [Mary], the social workers have to accept that seven murders and acts of cannibalism had taken place in the front room of a semi-detached house on a council estate to coincide with access visits without anybody noticing and that a social worker must have been implicated.
Faced with this material which appeared to throw new light on what may have happened in the USA, Canada and Holland we sought the help of Professors John and Elizabeth Newson of the Child Development Research Unit at Nottingham University and Professor Nicol of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Leicester University. Professor Newson advised us that [Mary] should be interviewed by the Police in the presence of her social worker on video and he further advised that the first session should encourage [Mary] to say anything that she wanted to without any questioning and that this video tape should be compared with the original transcript before a second interview was conducted at which probing questions could be asked. This advice was followed completely.
During the course of the second interview [Mary] explained that the only knowledge that she had was obtained from the social workers who had told her [Craig]'s story. She said that she had been pressurized and that the social workers would not take no for an answer. She thought that her nephew [Craig] would get into trouble if she did not back him up. Everything that she had disclosed to the social workers was totally untrue and she had only been to one birthday party at her parents' house since she came into care. We have since been concerned to learn that the social workers "were most unhappy at the way in which [Mary] was interviewed by the Police" with the implication that they still believe that she was originally telling the truth. In our view it was an excellent police interview which we would recommend anybody to watch.
After reading the transcript and studying all the videos with regard to [Mary], Professors John and Elizabeth Newson have since written to us with the following comments from John Newson: "I suggest that this case should be carefully documented and presented by the Team because it is perhaps an important example of how the truth might be subverted and the whole factual situation confused if the guidelines and principles set out above are ignored". Special facts leading to his conclusion seem to be:
"One may cite numerous occasions where the social workers did assert as bald fact their belief that [Mary] had witnessed and participated in child murder and in the eating of human flesh.... There are many inconsistencies in the stories told by [Mary] at different points in these transcripts. The social work interviewers also imply to [Mary] that the 'facts' were not in dispute but that it was her memory of them that was faulty. This is a procedure which in other contexts might well be described as 'brainwashing'; in fact [Mary] frequently describes herself as confused.
"Between them the interview records suggest to me that [Mary] has been led into confabulating a story which she herself now half believes on the basis of statements made to her by social workers during disclosure interviews. If this assessment is correct the 'disclosure' procedure she has been put through may well have persuaded this disturbed and confused young woman that she herself is a child murderer, has drunk human blood and has eaten human flesh in collusion with her mother, and she has been left with the conviction that these misdeeds were partly at the instigation of a personified Devil - who she may believe might well try to induce her to perform similar bestial acts in the future...
"There may indeed be organized groups of individuals practising (ritual) abuse in this community but none of the material I have seen or heard would count as convincing evidence as it stands. In my view also the accounts of adults ([Mandy] and [Vivian]) being offered are simply not consistent with the detailed accounts they could have given had they actually been present at genuine witchcraft ceremonies.
"I am particularly concerned that in the course of their disclosure interviews the social workers involved appear to have offered the children a whole vocabulary for describing their experiences which serves to transform their accounts into apparently plausible description of witchcraft practices".
Professors John and Elizabeth Newson would wish to emphasize that the comments in their report were based upon the evidence submitted to them i.e. upon the one or two very specific interviews with particular clients and that there may be other evidence which deserved to be taken into account to which they did not have access. They were not commenting on the competence of social workers generally.
Professor Nicol after reading the transcript and viewing [Mary]'s four video tapes comments as follows.
"I believe that for proper management it is essential that the facts of the abuse should be established as far as possible. Although this may be difficult normal rules of evidence must be observed. I note that the videotape interviews that I have been asked to view follow the weekend sessions in which ritualistic abuse was discussed. It is not clear whether these weekend sessions were for the purposes of disclosure, therapy or both... The transcript process record reveals that simple principles of neutral questioning have not been followed... this is a grossly leading line of questioning and is followed throughout the interviews...
"I would want to place these elaborate allegations in the context of her general adjustment. Is there other evidence of fantasising (not uncommon) or attention needing behaviour? Most important is there collateral evidence for these far reaching allegations? What we can say is that the interviewing technique used in the original disclosure involved the extensive use of leading questions and was experienced by [Mary] as pressurising according to comments made in the third tape.
"Unless there has been a lot of assessment work that I am unaware of, I believe that attention in this case has been inappropriately focused on obtaining a disclosure of Satanism practices. I can see no evidence from these interviews that such practices took place."
[Mary] was not the only new case referred to the team during the five months of its existence. In total a further 11 children were brought to our attention who appeared to be describing ritualistic/Satanic abuse. Professor Newson's advice was followed and all but two were interviewed and videoed by Police at Epperstone.
[Amy] Aged 14. Alleged Satanic ritualistic abuse involving named people and thirteen children. She claimed that she had been taken to a 'black house' where a ceremony took place involving 100 people. She withdrew all her allegations stating that she wished to remain in care and had made up all the stories.
[Lily] Aged 9. Alleged babies being cooked in a microwave oven, witchcraft parties and Satanic parties held at Wollaton Hall. The disclosures were obtained by her foster mother who tape-recorded the conversation. [Lily] started the Police interviews by repeating her allegations but when questioned regarding facts could give no coherent answers. Eventually she fully retracted her allegations and went on to explain that she wanted to please her foster mother during the interviews conducted by her. The foster mother had questioned her between recordings.
[Neil] Aged 8. Also in care and placed with one of the Broxtowe children's former foster parents, alleged that he had been to scary parties at a lady's house, that the woman had killed a baby and placed it in a microwave. He went on to speak of frightening parties in graveyards at which adults wore vampire suits and that the children were locked in caves. At his Police interview he did not retract his story but went on to say that babies were cooked for six hours and came out black (previously raw). He was not aware that the baby would have 'exploded'. He went on to say that spiders talked.
He could not identify any of the places he had mentioned when taken to see them. Coincidentally he made this disclosure within a week of social work staff attending the Reading Conference on child abuse and learning there from Jerry Simandl (who produced the second set of Satanic indicators used by Social Services) that children in the USA had reported babies being cooked in microwave ovens.
[Rebecca] Aged 7. In care, sharing a foster home with [Neil], alleged being at parties held in cemeteries and of babies being killed or placed in microwaves. At the Police interview his allegations became more bizarre, he claimed that two of his best friends had been murdered and that five babies had been microwaved and that he was nearly forced to eat part of the body. He then stated that 'they' microwaved the adults to see 'how they like it' and put them in the skip. He went on to talk of pirates digging for gold at Wollaton Park and that he had been in the tunnels with [Neil] and there was a monster "every mile". He talked of cavemen living under water.
[Clara] Aged 6. In care and with one of the Broxtowe children's former foster parents ([Craig]). Alleged a witch party in a wood. She could not expand on this but the site where the witches parties took place does not exist.
We do not know when the social workers acquired their current theories of Satanic abuse or when they started using their techniques of disclosure/therapy. All we have been able to learn from [Craig]'s records is that he was involved in eight play therapy sessions at his Area Office between March and August 1987 when he would have been three and a half but we do not know the content of these.
We asked for the audio and video tapes used in these sessions, for information from the social workers upon the therapeutic approach adopted, the models for disclosure work and information on the play therapy approach adopted by them. The Area Director, however, wrote to us, "As you will recall when the Joint Investigation Team was set up there was a great deal of sensitivity regarding their role and I was assured by yourself and the Director that the workers were not being investigated, rather that the evidence/information was being reviewed. If that is the case then I cannot see why information regarding the model/style of the workers needs to be looked at and as such I have instructed the (Senior Social Worker) not to hand over that information".
Likewise the NSPCC Unit refused to let us have the video tapes and records of the work done there with [Anna] and [Claire]. In view of this although we have never doubted that the children were sexually abused we cannot come to any informed conclusion as to whether any earlier therapy work with the 'Broxtowe' children has influenced their subsequent disclosures and we have not had the opportunity to check with the social workers our judgements on their work with the children or [Jane].
Shortly before the end of the Enquiry we considered that we were grappling with some uncomfortable information. It was apparent from [Mary]'s disclosures that they were based upon social work interviews with [Craig] which presumably must have taken place before he became a Ward of Court.
[Craig] had been received into care in December 1986 while his cousins had been removed on Place of Safety Orders in October 1987. We understood that the decision to remove them was based in part at least upon disclosures made by [Craig]. [Jane]'s second statement (N.B. she is an adult) to the police in August 1988 if it is true appeared to grow in significance when seen in the light of the work done with [Mary] after March 1989. It seemed to us to suggest a similar approach by the same team of social workers at a much earlier date. The following are extracts from [Jane]'s statement:
"When the case was in full swing my social worker started interviewing me and asking me questions about parties involving witches. The first time I told her that the only parties of any kind I had been to were at the (family home)... I told her I didn't know anything about any other houses... she started asking me over and over again whether I'd been to any other big houses where witch parties had taken place. I kept saying I hadn't but in the end I just got fed up with being asked so I just said yes.
"She asked me to describe the houses. I told her I couldn't so she said she'd take me round to see them in the car... She pointed to the house and asked me if that was the house. I said yes. She asked me what had happened while I was there. I told her there were video cameras there and children being abused. I made it all up. I had never been to that house before in my life. I made up a description of the inside of the house. She took me to another house near Wollaton Park... she asked me whether this was another house I'd been to. I just said yes. I agreed with whatever she said, I have been interviewed about 20 times by (my social worker) about these houses but all I do is just keep saying yes
"I have seen [Mandy] many times over the past few months and she's told me she's been telling the Social Services about witch parties. I know she's telling lies... [Mandy]'s told me that if I tell the Social Services about witch parties at big houses I might have a chance of getting my daughter back (child in care) (my social worker's) told me if I tell the truth I could get my daughter back... everything I have told (the social worker) is lies. I've told her the truth more than once but she wouldn't believe me so I just said anything.... the only things I know about witchcraft and magic are the things I've seen on the telly.
"I was in Court when my statements were read out in the care proceedings. Some of this was the things I had told (the social worker). I was frightened to say that it wasn't true."
Research into Other Cases in the U.K.
At this stage of the enquiry we also made enquiries elsewhere in the country. Most of the police forces and the NSPCC had no information but we obtained an interesting response from Congleton and Humberside. We have met with a Chief Inspector from Humberside who has told us that after a national "Evangelical" proponent of Satanic abuse spent many hours with two 11 year old boys at her home they eventually alleged Satanic abuse. A well respected school master was arrested but intensive police investigations found that none of these allegations against the school master were based on reality.
As a consequence of the discrediting of the witnesses due to the improper intervention of this person the Prosecution had to drop serious charges of rape and buggery against two men. The Attorney General became involved. The police were convinced that they had a good case against these men but were left with only the one Defendant who pleaded guilty.
In the information presented to us as the start of the Enquiry we were informed that in Congleton two separate groups of children who had not had contact with each other talked about babies being killed. They had also talked about people dressed as clowns, people dressed up as animals, lions and tigers and animals being sacrificed. We contacted the investigating police who informed us that the case revolved around three families who were all neighbours. The children concerned belonged to two of the families. The evidence which could be substantiated revolved around sexual abuse only.
Whilst the children aged 5, 6, 10 and 12 years were in care they made allegations of attending parties and the murder of a baby named "Daniel" whose body was buried in a back garden. The back garden was excavated and Thermal Image Intensifiers were used. No evidence of a body was found. The allegation was then altered and the body was said to be buried on waste ground. This was also checked and no body was found. The children had made the disclosures during therapeutic work and were believed by the social workers.
We were also told that one of the national figures arousing public consciousness of ritual child abuse had visited Congleton but we do not know whether this was before or after the children's disclosures.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS OF WORK DONE BY THE TEAM (In Stages 1 - 5)
Places and People Investigated
We found no evidence to substantiate the claims of the children and the corroborating adults. Tunnels and rooms that they had identified did not exist. The three 'corroborating' adults were willing to tell you anything. In our view they could not be considered corroborative witnesses of anything the children had said. [Jane] had already retracted her statement before the enquiry and claimed that she knew [Mandy] was telling lies. We consider it was unlikely that they were 'independent' of the children as Wardship papers containing extracts from the Children's Diaries were found in the family households. In [Jane]'s records we found statements such as: [Jane] "In the Affidavit [James] told about the hole" "It's like [James] says in the Affidavits that I used to hit him".
Analysis of the Children's Diaries
We can accept that these children may have been sadistically terrorized by their family but we cannot support the interpretation of organized Satanic abuse that has been made from them. It is important to note that the only real evidence presented to us for the belief in Satanic abuse in the Broxtowe case is the Diaries.
Research into Satanism and Witchcraft
We do not consider that the Satanic indicators used by the Social Services Department have any validity and the information that we have on the author does not enhance their acceptability.
Our own research in Satanism and witchcraft left us with the view that there is very little if any empirical physical evidence to substantiate the claims that have been made. We doubt the existence of organised Satanic abuse as currently promulgated. Nevertheless it must be recognised that rent boys and paedophile rings do exist and it is always possible that an isolated cult on the "Charles Manson" model could arise.
Research into the International Scene
(USA, Canada and Holland)
If the articles that we have read are accurate it would appear that since the eruption of the McMartin case in the USA in August 1983 there has been a modern day witch hunt in the USA. The original cases of McMartin and Jordan have now finally ended with the acquittal of all the defendants. The reports suggest that the practices of social workers and therapists are now being questioned.
In both Holland and Canada the police's inability to find evidence and the social workers belief in the children's stories has led to considerable conflict between their respective agencies. The reports about Lyndon La Rouche with the emphasis on accusing Day Centre workers suggests that the accusation and promulgation of Satanic abuse can be used for political purposes. We now have the hypothesis (which cannot of course be proved) that Satanic abuse as a phenomenon is based on either or both of the following:-
Interview with the Experts used by Social Services
We found them very vague and they could not provide us with any actual evidence of Satanic abuse. Mr. W. mentioned some cases but we checked all these and they appeared to have no foundation.
The Disclosures of [Mary] and the Other Satellite Cases
We found this illuminating. If our judgements and those of our consultants are correct [Mary]'s case demonstrates how evidence can for want of a better term be "created" i.e. you start with nothing except your own beliefs and end up with the story that you expected and wanted to hear before you started.
It must be borne in mind, however, that as this was not an enquiry into staff conduct we have been unable to interview the social workers concerned to find out their explanation. We have had to rely upon the written material which we assume to be accurate and the video interviews.
We find it alarming, if we understand the Area Director's reply to us correctly, that the staff do not appear to have questioned their own practice in this case but consider that the Police interview was unacceptable. If our view is correct Nottinghamshire social workers are not alone in this. It could explain a phenomenon that has been puzzling everybody in the UK, USA, Canada and Holland. The Police can find no evidence, but the social workers believe the children. The Police in even their most jaundiced moments, however, would not consider the possibility that all the 'evidence' had arisen from the social workers' disclosure/therapy methods. The social workers would not recognise this because they are not aware that they are doing it i.e. they are not fabricating evidence as a deliberate corrupt conscious act. The result would always be irreconcilable conflict.
We consider that much further work needs to be done on this by independent, highly qualified professionals as it has serious implications for social work practice. We can only surmise that there are great dangers if the initial theory is wrong and social workers are working in isolation. In the field of sexual abuse the dangers are magnified as all social workers know that children are reluctant to disclose and only do so in a piecemeal fashion.
Research into other cases in the UK
The experience of Humberside would appear to confirm that a similar process can happen elsewhere if the interviewer has a belief in Satanic abuse.
The Broxtowe family was the largest child abuse case yet found in this country and was probably unique with regard to the extent of sexual abuse disclosed and the nature of the disclosures. It is understandable that involvement with the children could well lead one to believe that anything could happen. It is doubtful whether anybody as the time could have come to the right conclusions. As a Team we know how it affected us initially and are aware of some of the wilder expectations that we had.
In our view that choice of experts was unfortunate and the use of the Satanic Indicators which appear so convincing was disastrous. The willingness of adult members of the family to fabricate stories even if they were encouraged to do so was grossly misleading. The social workers were faced with a new phenomenon outside their experience and it is not difficult to understand how they set off on their particular road.
The unwillingness of the Police to engage in a joint investigation in the aftermath of the Broxtowe case left the social workers isolated and without any real means of checking their suspicions. We are all aware that it is easy to criticise with the benefit of hindsight.
Unfortunately, two years were allowed to elapse without the social workers views being challenged by any contrary independent evidence. If anything the stream was flowing the other way. Satanic abuse as a concept appears to be contagious and additional evidence was cropping up all over the country. The pace has quickened in the last three months. When we spoke to the NSPCC less than six months ago they had no information to give us but we now read that "an increasing number of the society's child protection teams are dealing with children who have been ritualistically abused".
We are less sympathetic with the current attitude of the staff involved in the Broxtowe case. In our view two years later on an unshakeable belief system in Satanic ritualistic abuse appears to have developed which could easily lead into a modern day "witch hunt" (as has happened in the USA). All the elements appear to us to be present; rigid preconceived ideas, dubious investigative techniques, the unwillingness to check basic facts, the readiness to believe anything, however bizarre, the interest in identifying prominent people, with widening of the net to implicate others and the unwillingness to accept any challenge to their views. This may appear to be a harsh judgement but we would support it by the following examples:-
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS
IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
a) The Effect of the Broxtowe Case on the Social Services Department
If we are correct in our findings and judgements there appear to be the following implications:-
1. That children could be emotionally abused
We have to consider the damage that may have been done to the children in working with them on the basis that they had been involved in experiences such as the slaughter of sheep and the killing of babies that had not actually happened. What has been done to [Mary] by convincing her that she was a child murderer who had indulged in acts of cannibalism or that she might kill again if she did not feel guilty?
2. The possibility of gross injustice
[Craig] identified a lodger (by means of a photograph) who lived with his aunt for a few months when he was no more than two and a half years of age. He also dictated a letter which could be used in a Wardship Hearing alleging that she was a witch who held witch parties and sexually abused him. If [Amy] had not retracted her disclosures twelve children could have been removed from their homes.
3. The influence of the Social Services Department nationally
The staff of our Social Services Department appear to be perceived as experts on Satanic ritualistic abuse and gave a presentation at a conference in Reading in September 1989 which included 230 representative from child protection agencies, child psychologists, police and social workers. The conference was told that the Nottingham Case appeared to involve Satanic rituals, that the staff were convinced the children were telling the truth and that they now gave advice to other social workers seeking information on Satanic rituals. The conference was reported in the press and a tape of it can be purchased. We are aware that many Police forces and Scotland Yard had intended to use this as substantiated evidence of Satanic abuse.
Social Services staff have given a presentation to all Nottinghamshire Area Directors and Group Principal Hospital Social Workers. We understand from an independent participant at the Presentation that it was convincing.
4. Police perception of Social Services Department
It is clear to us that the recent satellite cases have gravely damaged the Social Services Department's reputation with the Police. The Police have complained to us that children in care are alleging murder but they have then been kept in the dark for a considerable period of time before the children are ready for the Police interview. The Police have been astonished at some of the allegations that appear to be accepted by social workers such as the cooking of babies in microwave ovens (the body, we are told would explode).
A straightforward Police interview quickly discredited the children's allegations. [Reggie], for example, went on to include adults being cooked in microwave ovens. The Police subsequently learned that the social services claimed that Police Officers could not do satisfactory interviews of this type of disclosure. It is not surprising that some Police officers have become very angry and that the credibility of the Social Services Department has suffered.
b) Police - Social Service Relationships
We consider that the unwillingness of the Police to agree to joint working in the aftermath of the Broxtowe case led eventually to distrust and a failure of communication which contributed to the Social Services Department developing and enlarging upon its concept of Satanic ritual abuse. It would appear to us that the Social Services Department was never really aware of the full extent of the Police enquiries but was asked to accept assertions without detailed evidence being presented. By the time of the briefing at Hucknall it was too late and any additional information that appeared to dispute the Police findings created suspicion that no proper investigation had taken place. We consider that this was particularly unfortunate as the basis for the Police view was in our opinion fundamentally sound. They had investigated locations thoroughly, they were sceptical at the idea of the family murdering children in a semi-detached council house, (particularly after interviewing neighbours). They were aware that the adults were totally unreliable, they were suspicious as to the validity of the American literature and they had doubts about the interpretation of the diaries. We were surprised to discover that the Police had actually researched witchcraft and Satanism quite thoroughly.
Our own experience as a team has proved that Police and social workers can work perfectly well together and that they have more in common than suspected. The empirical approach of the Police with its emphasis upon evidence and checking can blend quite well with the rationalistic approach of social workers with its emphasis upon establishing hypotheses, logical consequences and an information base.
Faced with a very complex situation, however, (such as a paedophile ring) we would consider that it would be essential for the Police and social workers to be located in the same office together so that a trusting relationship based upon mutual respect and open debate could develop. Otherwise the preconceived stereotypes and differences in style, organisation and decision making would be likely to get in the way. We do not consider that in a "Broxtowe type of case" that real joint working could be achieved by meetings alone.
It is our view that if the current situation is allowed to persist that there could be a total breakdown of Police/Social Service relationships with incalculable consequences. At the present we are told that this has almost happened in one Police Division but it could spread to the rest of the county.
Parts of this report make uncomfortable reading, however, we take comfort from the following:
W. Thorpe, Detective Sergeant
J. B. Gwatkin B.A. Hons (Social Science) Dip App Social Studies, Area Director
W. P. Glenn, Detective Policewoman
M. F. Gregory RMN CQSW PhD Candidate, Senior Social Worker
The other members of the original team were:-
Detective Superintendent R. S. Davy
(Deputy Head of Nottinghamshire CID)
D. C. Long B.A. (Sociology & Politics) M.A. (History of Education)/M.A. (Social Work), CQSW, Certificate of Education, Senior Social Worker
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