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Pagan Sex Trial: Witches' Peter Petrauske And Jack Kemp Convicted Of 'Ritualistic' Child Abuse

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TRURO CROWN COURT
Truro Crown Court | PA

Two men have been convicted of carrying out "ritualistic" sex abuse on children as part of a witches' coven.

Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp were said to have donned ceremonial robes and pagan paraphernalia before abusing young girls in Cornwall during the 1970s.

Police believe one of their victims may have been three years old when the abuse started.

The pair, aged 72 and 69 respectively, showed little emotion as they were led from the dock at Truro Crown Court today and into custody.

The pair's victims gave harrowing evidence from behind a screen during the three-week trial. They said they were abused by their tormentors, before being given money and sweets to buy their silence.

Witnesses also named murdered pagan Peter Solheim and notorious Cornish paedophile Stan Pirie as among their abusers.

The former was a 56-year-old parish councillor whose body was found five miles off the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, by fishermen on June 18 2004. He had been drugged and mutilated by a machete or an axe.

The child abuse was only investigated further by police last year when Kemp was arrested in connection with another incident, causing rumours to spread around his home town of Falmouth and prompting the alleged victims of the historic offences to contact detectives.

The other charges include indecent assault and other sexual offences, and were believed to have been committed much more recently.

Petrauske was backed up by female members of the coven who said that while children were occasionally present, nudity never played a part in the ceremonies. One female friend also described him as "a gentleman".

Kemp denied any involvement in paganism, saying it "wasn't his cup of tea", and said he was the victim of a bizarre conspiracy. He said the girls were wrong to name him in the case.

Petrauske, who described himself as the high priest of a white witches' coven in St Ives, Cornwall, was convicted of one count of rape, one count of aiding and abetting an attempt to rape, and one count of indecent assault.

Kemp was found guilty of indecent assault and indecency with a child.

He was found not guilty of four other sexual offences, following 11 hours and 22 minutes' deliberations.

The jury of nine men and three women are still considering their verdicts on several other sexual offences.

Judge Graham Cottle said he would accept a majority verdict on the remaining charges.

The jury have retired to consider verdicts on the remaining counts.