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Woman sobs in court as she tells of 'pagan abuse'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

An alleged victim of two men charged with sexually abusing her as a child as part of a witches' coven told a court she did not speak out until recently because she was afraid.

Peter Petrauske, 72, and Jack Kemp, 69, face charges of sexually abusing children during pagan ceremonies from the 1970s onwards.

They are standing trial at Truro Crown Court and deny a series of sexual offences against young girls.

In 2005 a friend of the pair called Stanley Pirie was tried and convicted at the same court of child sex abuse.

One of Pirie's victims who gave evidence during the trial has since accused Petrauske and Kemp of also sexually abusing her during the same period of her childhood.

She said Kemp had taken Polaroid photographs of the abuse and had also filmed it.

Jurors have watched hours of video testimony from the alleged victim, now a grown woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

She said she was taken to various large houses in Cornwall where she was sexually abused by people wearing hoods and chanting.

During evidence she also accused a man named Peter Solheim of raping her when she was young and being part of the coven.

Mr Solheim, 56, a former parish councillor, was murdered in 2004. His partner Margaret James from Porthoustock on The Lizard was later jailed for 20 years for conspiracy to murder, but her accomplices remain at large.

Yesterday, the alleged victim appeared in court to give evidence from behind a screen, sobbing throughout.

When Jo Martin, defending Kemp, asked why the woman had not mentioned Kemp or Petrauske during the 2005 trial of Pirie, she replied: "Because I was ashamed and feared what they would do to me if I ever told. I can't forget some of the things they did."

The woman said she had not mentioned the pair during police interview because she had only been asked about Pirie.

She said she had mentioned the two defendants during counselling sessions following the first trial and said they had "destroyed" her life.

Ms Martin referred to a letter from the woman's psychiatrist to her GP in which he stated the woman told him she had been a virgin when she married.

The woman agreed that was what she had told her psychiatrist.

She said: "That was the way I dealt with it at the time because it made it easier."

The trial continues.

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