A view of the High Court building in Glasgow
A satanic paedophile ring forced children to kill animals and make a ouija board to call on spirits and demons, a court has heard. Eleven people are accused of being involved in the alleged child sex ring which is said to have involved witchcraft, attempted murder and serious sexual violence.
A view of the High Court in Glasgow
Seven men and four women are facing a 14-page indictment over alleged crimes said to have taken place between January 2010 and March 2020 at a number of addresses in Glasgow.
Some charges claim the alleged victims – two young girls and a young boy – were forced to kill animals and made to use a ouija board, or similar object, “to call on spirits and demons”.
One of the young girls was said to have been shut in a microwave, a fridge, an oven and a freezer in an attempt to kill her by six members of the group, according to the charges.
Prosecutors allege that Iain Owens, 43, Elaine Lannery, 38, Lesley Williams, 38, Paul Brannan, 40, and John Clark, 46, as well as the late Steven McHendrie, 55, also pursued the girl while “wearing a mask of the devil”, blowing smoke into her face after taking drugs.
There are also claims group members “did clap, cheer and verbally encourage” as well as recorded on video the youngsters being sexually abused.
The accused are further alleged to have forced the children to take part in satanic “seances” where they were told they were drinking blood and eating a heart.
One of the girls was allegedly threatened with being sent to Turkey with a male stranger, while the boy is alleged to have been put in a bath filled with blood.
The boy was allegedly forced to stab a budgie to death by members of the group, who are said to have worn cloaks and devil horns.
Mr Owens, Ms Lannery, Lesley Williams, Mr Brannan, Mr Clark, Marianne Gallagher, 38, Scott Forbes, 49, Barry Watson, 46, Mark Carr, 49, Richard Gachagan, 45, and Leona Laing, 50, deny the charges they face.
Maureen Goudie, Robert Brown, James McLean and Douglas Gachagan are also mentioned as being involved in a number of the charges, but they are also now dead, according to court papers.
At a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday (January 6), Judge Lord Beckett estimated the full trial could take up to seven weeks, with several of the defence lawyers agreeing this was “realistic”.
The judge told the court: “There are so many people in the case there could be an unusual level of disruption.”
Advocate depute Kath Harper estimated the Crown case alone would last up to three weeks.
None of the accused were present at Friday’s hearing. Several defence lawyers raised concerns over a video posted on social media in relation to the trial hours before the case was called.
Gary Allan KC described the content as “accusatory” and having “derogatory terms” directed towards the accused. He said it was “potentially prejudicial”.
Brian McConnachie KC told the court: “We need to speak to this person and tell them to stop what they are doing… There will be some future video uploaded.”
Lord Beckett responded to the lawyers’ concerns, saying: “The Crown has the resources to tackle this and I would encourage the Crown to do so.”
Mr Owens and Ms Lannery, of Thornlie-bank, Renfrewshire, face claims they and 15 other adults repeatedly raped the three children.
Mr Brannan, Mr Gachagan, Mr Carr, Mr Clark, Mr Forbes and Mr Watson are accused of exposing themselves and performing sex acts on a child while others cheered.
Ms Lannery, Lesley Williams, Ms Laing and Ms Gallagher, of Maryhill, Glasgow, allegedly “did clap, cheer and verbally encourage the conduct”.
Mr Brown, Ms Goudie and Mr McHendrie were also accused of rape, but all three are now deceased.
Two men, James McLean and Douglas Gachagan, who are both also now deceased, are said to have raped the older of the two girls in separate incidents at various homes in Glasgow.
They are claimed to have acted with Owens and Watson, of Mount Vernon, Glasgow, Brannan and Clark, both from Clydebank, Forbes, of the city’s Townhead, and McHendrie.
As well as 16 people named in court papers, the charges also refer to an unknown person in relation to an alleged assault on the boy.
It is claimed the suspect injured him to the point where his life was in danger along with Owens, Lannery, Brannan and Gallagher.
Court papers allege they “did punch, strike and slap him” and hit him with a book, toys and lighter.
They are also claimed to have chased him, pulled down his trousers and pants and struck him on his bottom before putting him in a bath filled with a liquid they said was blood.
It adds they did “push his head and body under said liquid and hold him there, restricting his breathing”. The group is also alleged to have made him drink alcohol and consume drugs to the point where his life was in danger.
Owens, Lannery, Williams, Brannan, Gachagan, Laing, Gallagher, Carr, Clark, Watson, Brown, Goudie and McHendrie stand accused of hitting the girl on the head and body with objects, which include a pot.
The charges also allege they also ran a wheelchair into her legs, put a polythene bag over her head and body and restricted her breathing.
The case was continued to the full trial hearing in September.