Reiki healer Michael Ireland jailed for sexual abuse

A "spiritual healer and psychic" who admitted abusing six women and two children has been jailed for 16 years.

Reiki master Michael Ireland, 60, of Bosden Fold, Stockport, pleaded guilty to 25 sexual offences committed over 25 years at Manchester Crown Court.

He assaulted the victims at his flat under the guise of undoing their "emotional blockages", the court heard.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said he abused a doctor patient-type relationship with the women.

Ireland was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.

He used his good reputation from conducting services at spiritualist churches across Cheshire and Greater Manchester to target his victims, the court heard.

Victim felt 'sullied'

Judge Khokhar said: "Because of your reputation that you had built up in this particular field, people trusted you. What you said they accepted as being right.

"Your relationship with those women was very much akin to that of a relationship between that of a doctor and a patient which entails an enormous amount of trust. Sadly you abused that trust."

Ireland told one woman who came to a healing class in 2009 complaining of bad dreams that she was "carrying demons" and a "controversial" treatment was needed, before touching her intimately on his healing table, the court was told.

Two other victims were persuaded to perform sexual "healing" acts on him.

He also admitted offences against two child victims from the age of seven, dating back to the mid-1980s.

In 1972 Ireland, who was 18 at the time, was fined for indecently assaulting a girl aged under 14, the court heard.

Darren Preston, prosecuting, said one woman victim suffered from flashbacks and had become a recluse, one felt "sullied" by the defendant and another woman said she could no longer trust anyone.

"The majority of his victims came into contact with him through his supposed spiritual practice," he said.

"The defendant used his relative power over these women to satisfy his sexual desires."

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