Ritual sex ‘victim’ stands by claim

A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a couple during “quasi-satanic rituals” has denied her allegations were complete “hocus pocus”.

The woman told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday that she had been interested in witchcraft.

But she denied drawing on her own experiences of witchcraft and Satanism to add credence to her claims against David Stalford, 56, and his 55-year-old wife, Bette.

The woman said she had classed herself as a witch in the past, but was now a pagan, which she defined someone who believed in taking care of nature and worshipping it.

The woman has claimed that when she was a teenager she was recruited to take part in rituals by the Stalfords.

She claimed the couple had approached her when they had been living in the Bury St Edmunds area and asked if was a virgin.

The woman said they had told her they had been contacted by a coven of witches and needed her to help them because she was a virgin.

She told the court that a few nights later she had been told to have a bath and to make sure she was clean from head to toe.

The woman went to bed in a room at the Stalford’s house, but was woken up during the night by Bette Stalford and told to put on a bathrobe.

She was then taken downstairs to a living room and recalled: “It was dark and a lot of candles were lit.” Both the Stalfords were wearing bathrobes and she was told to go into the middle of the room.

The court heard David Stalford had told her to take off her robe and to kneel. The couple had then allegedly removed their own robes and had told her to perform oral sex on him.

Afterwards she described the Stalfords as being “very pleasant” to her and said they had all gone into the dining room and had had a hot drink.

She said the ritual had been repeated a number of times running into double figures over a period of three to four months.

She said the rituals had come to an end when she had told the couple that she had not wanted to take part in them any more. “It frightened me. They said if I didn’t want to do it any more, it would stop,” added the woman.

However, she claimed David Stalford had later taken explicit photographs of her while she was naked.

The Stalfords, of Oak Hill, Hollesley, have denied six joint offences of indecent assault and six alternative offences of indecency with a child.

David Stalford has denied five offences of indecent assault and four offences of indecency with a child.

Cross-examined yesterday by Martyn Levett, defending David Stalford, the woman said she had set up a website for pagans and added she had given Bette Stalford a “book of spells” and “the witches bible” as presents.

Mr Levett said: “You told the police a complete hocus pocus story drawing on your experiences of witchcraft and Satanism to give credence to your account that you were assaulted in a sexual manner.”

The woman denied this and a suggestion from Mr Levett that she had wanted to go into glamour modelling when she was a teenager and had asked David Stalford to take pictures of her because she knew he was interested in photography.

But she admitted that she had been working recently in a gentlemen’s club as a pole and lap dancer.

Asked by Steven Dyble, defending Bette Stalford, if she would have been able to create a fiction of ritual abuse from her own knowledge of paganism and witchcraft, the woman replied: “I would have gone into more detail and I would have been able to answer the questions a lot better.”

The trial continues today.

[keywords: david and bette stalford]


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Evening Star, UK
June 30, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 1, 2004.
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