This week we have been taking a deep dive into the Broxtowe false Satanic ritual abuse allegations, which took place in Nottingham around a case in which very real child abuse—sexual, physical, and emotional—was confirmed. The SRA overlay, while believed by some of the social workers, was roundly discredited in a suppressed 1990 report by the Joint Enquiry Team (JET) which consisted of two police officers and two social workers.
Although the JET report was initially suppressed by Nottinghamshire County Council, in 1990 the “true believer” social workers, including two founding members of the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS), wrote an indignant response to what they clearly considered a threat to their professional reputations—the Team 4 response, which was only released to an individual who made an FOI request in 2015–2016.
Broxtowe versus Hoaxtead
Aside from the historic importance of the Broxtowe case, which saw ideas of Satanic ritual abuse imported from the USA and Canada for the first time, we feel there is a direct relevance to the Hampstead SRA hoax.
One of the issues which has been continually raised by those who support the Hampstead hoax is that “no proper police investigation was carried out”; this, they believe, means that there was a state cover-up of the case, and that all the children’s allegations must have been true. We would argue that the police investigation unravelled quickly because not only was there no evidence to support the allegations, but the children retracted them as soon as they were out of the clutches of their mother and her boyfriend.
In the Broxtowe case, the opposite occurred: following allegations of SRA, the JET team re-investigated the case from top to bottom, starting from the assumption that the allegations were true—and they found nothing to substantiate them.
If the “evil state” had been intent upon suppressing the spread of the SRA myth, one would have thought that the JET report would have been shared far and wide at that point, where it might have helped to inoculate against this new and invasive phenomenon. Instead, the JET report was successfully suppressed for the better part of a decade by the social workers/witch-hunters who had helped to create the allegations in the first place.
The foster carers’ diaries
During the Broxtowe investigation, the children involved were never interviewed by police, meaning that a coherent, linear narrative of alleged events was never established. Instead, all of the allegations of SRA were obtained by the children’s foster carers, who were influenced by a meeting held in February 1988:
On the 9.2.88 (Ray Wyre) 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.
The “American expert” turns out to have been Wayne I. Munkel, who signed himself as “MSW Medical Social Consultant”. Despite Mr Munkel’s having given a series of talks on the subject of SRA in New Orleans in 1986, he was described by the British Embassy in Washington as “just a social worker with no medical background”, whose opinions were not take very seriously.
It seems that Ray Wyre received Mr Munkel’s “Satanic Indicators” from Tim Tate, who at that time was working as a researcher for Central Television’s Cook Report. When Mr Tate was interviewed by the JET investigators, he stated that “after three years research he had found no tangible evidence of Satanic abuse and doubted its existence”. (He appears to have changed his tune in the interim.)
However, the diaries did indeed take a sinister turn following Mr Wyre’s presentation to the foster parents.
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.
Looking at the diary entries for just one of the children, it becomes clear how the content of the stories changed over time, and how certain aspects of the stories, such as “Selina” and “the master” were interpreted by the Team 4 social workers:
[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.
We now know that, unbelievable as it seems, the Team 4 social workers gave credence to “SRA resources” such as the Malleus Maleficarum, a medieval theological treatise and handbook on the “Satanic indicators” which one might use to identify and eradicate witches…500 years ago.
From this source, the social workers/witch hunters gleaned what they believed to be accurate information about such things as the killing of babies in rituals, the uses and significance of blood, and seemingly mystical rituals such as sticking dolls with pins.
The JET report also describes the interrogation of one of the older children, “Mary”, aged 17, by the Team 4 social workers. We think it’s important, as it shows the sorts of leading and limited-choice questions which the social workers used to extract information.
Keep in mind that the Area Director told the JET investigators 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.”
Reading this, we found it easy to imagine the social workers as medieval witch-hunters, determined to prove not only that “Mary” had been involved in obscene and unholy rituals, but that she must be made to give them the names of others involved.
Professors John and Elizabeth Newson of the Child Development Research Unit at Nottingham University were consulted by the JET investigators. Regarding the social workers’ interviews with “Mary”, they stated,
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…
In other words, rather than fulfilling their mandate as social workers to assist and support the mental and social well-being of their young clients, the Team 4 zealots used their interrogations of the children and teens of Broxtowe to confirm their own belief in SRA. In doing so, they caused potentially irreparable damage to those they were meant to be assisting.
“Jane”, an adult at the time, made the following statement to police in August 1988, suggesting that the social workers had been using similar techniques at a much earlier date:
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.”
Reading “Jane’s” statement, it’s difficult not to think of RD’s children speaking earnestly to the interviewing police officer 24 years later, explaining to him how their interrogators would not take “no” for an answer, and kept hounding them until they came up with the desired stories.
It’s painful to realise that, had the JET report been circulated amongst social service and mental health practitioners when it was first written, the toxic SRA narrative might have been nipped in the bud, and uncounted victims spared.