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'Witches coven' child sex abuse case: Witness gives harrowing interview to court

By Jo_Wood  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

  • Peter Petrauske and Peter Solheim



A harrowing video interview, made by an adult woman detailing the abuse and rape she allegedly suffered at the hands of men involved in a West Cornwall coven of white witches, was shown to a Truro Crown Court jury yesterday.

Prosecutors say Jack Kemp, 69, and Peter Petrauske, 72, were members of a witches' coven whose members donned robes and used daggers to launch sex attacks on girls in Cornwall.

The two friends deny a string of sexual offences, including assault and, in Petrauske's case, rape.

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The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, repeatedly spoke of being scared and of fearing that she would be thrown onto a fire if she was "naughty" and did not do as she was told.

She said she suffered pain for weeks after she was tied to a bed and raped by an unknown man when she was nearly ten and how, years later, she recognised him when he was murdered and his picture was shown on television.

"I was taken into a big house and upstairs," she said. "There was a weird, incensey smell and I passed rooms where there were chains coming off the backs of the beds, and whips.

I was in a room where there was a big double bed with ropes coming off it, and a black whip with star things on the ends.

"I was scared. He pushed me on the bed and I knew I was in trouble. I did what he told me, he tied ropes around my feet, they were really tight, hurting. "I was telling him 'Please don't hurt me' and he slapped me across the face. His eyes were looking evil."

The witness went on to say her hands were tied and she was then forcefully raped several times.

"I was screaming 'please stop' and thought someone would hear me but no-one came. Afterwards a woman came and helped me shower."

"I didn't recognise the man until a few years ago when he was on the television because he had been murdered. It was Peter Selvine (statement says Selvine, but she meant Solheim)."

When she saw the picture she was "hysterical and lost the plot" but could not tell anyone.

"He made me hate men," she declared.

Her evidence spoke of being about three when she was first abused, and five when she went to a ritual attended by a number of men and women, together with up to 12 children. Among those present were Kemp and Petrauske, the high priest.

"The chanting stuck in my head for weeks," she said. "I didn't understand what it was all about, I just thought they were weird. I was warned that if I was naughty they would hurt me, that they had special powers."

She was taken to a big house, she thought it was near near Hayle, where there was an area with big stones and a fire in the middle. There were people dressed in 'gown things', with hoods. She thought they looked like Ku Klux Klan gowns with necklaces.

"I was with eight or ten other kids and we were allowed to sit and watch," she said. "I didn't understand what was going on and was scared."

Petrauske was at the centre of proceedings, and there was alcohol. She sat next to a little boy who was more scared than her, with tears running down his face.

"That was the first time I learned about witches," the witness declared.

There were references to her being taken to a quarry, made to take off her clothes and pose for Polaroid pictures to be taken.

Haltingly the witness described a number of occasions when she had been sexually abused by Kemp and Petrauske. Her involvement ended when she was about 12.

"After all I went through I now feel ashamed I did not tell anyone," she said.

The wife of one of the men accused claimed in court yesterday the couple had been involved in swapping sexual partners.

Pamela James, Kemp's wife until their divorce following his arrest last December, told the jury that she and "German Pete" Petrauske had sexual intercourse a number of times between the early 1970's and 80's.

"My husband knew about it, he wanted me to" she said. "It was a wife swapping stage we went through."

Mrs James also told of her husband having slept with another woman in their home for a few weeks while she slept downstairs.

She knew her husband went to witches' meetings with 'German Pete' but she told him she didn't want to go or know about it.

"I did go to German Pete's home and see a lot of weird ornaments and statues, and he did read my fortune on the Tarot cards but it was all rubbish."

The allegations of child abuse came to light, she said, at a birthday party at which a lot of alcohol was drunk and her husband was accused of rape.

The trial continues.

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