Kidwelly sex cult leader Colin Batley may never be free

Colin Batley was found guilty of dozens of sexual offences against children and young adults

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A sex cult leader who brainwashed and abused children has been jailed and warned he may never be released.

Colin Batley, 48, was found guilty of 35 offences at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday. Three women, including his estranged wife, were also imprisoned.

He moved from London to the small town of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, where the cult operated in a cul-de-sac.

He was given a public protection sentence with an 11-year minimum recommendation.

"That means, of course, you may never be released," said Judge Paul Thomas QC.

Jacqueline Marling, 42, described as "Batley's right-hand woman", was jailed for 12 years, while Batley's wife Elaine, 47, was jailed for eight years.

Shelly Millar, 35, described during the trial as Batley's "sex slave", was jailed for five years.

Vincent Barden, 70, of Kempston, Bedfordshire, who was not a cult member, was jailed for three years after admitting two counts of sexual assault on an underage girl.

Batley was said in court to have been active as a molester and rapist of children and young people for more than three decades.

Previously, a jury rejected claims by Batley and other defendants during the trial that no cult existed.

Elaine Batley, Jacqueline Marling and Shelley Millar Elaine Batley, Jacqueline Marling and Shelley Millar were all jailed

The cult, who all lived in the same cul-de-sac, took part in a catalogue of abuse against children and young adults.

Victims said the group used occult writings and practices to "brainwash" them, and justify their abuse.

Batley used his position as the cult leader to rape boys and girls, the court was told.

Judge Thomas detailed how Batley had moved from London to Wales in the 1990s and eventually based the cult in Kidwelly.

"What happened thereafter has besmirched the unsuspecting town of Kidwelly."

He added: "You formed a community within a community, you were described as evil. That, in my view, is an entirely accurate statement of your character.

Blistering attack

"It is likely that you have dedicated your life since you were 12 years old to satisfying your sexual urges by whatever means at your disposal."

The judge also attacked the works of occultist Aleister Crowley, which inspired the Kidwelly cult.

Batley and the others were said to have used Crowley's The Book Of The Law - which praises prostitution and free sex - as a guide for their own actions.

Judge Thomas told Batley he had used the occult to manipulate and control his victims.

Batley was found guilty of offences including 11 rapes, three indecent assaults, causing prostitution for personal gain, causing a child to have sex and inciting a child to have sex.

VICTIMS' STATEMENT

"We would like to thank everyone who helped us get through this ordeal, including family, friends and the investigation team.

"We are generally pleased with the sentencing today, it's been a nightmare journey for each one of us, but we hope this can be a start of a new beginning.

"We have experienced the worst that life can through at us and all we want to do is move forward with our lives.

"We would like to take this opportunity to say to anyone else who may have experienced anything like what we have, to dig deep and find the courage to report it, whether to a family member, friend or the police.

"Don't be afraid and don't suffer alone."

Source: Dyfed-Powys Police

Passing sentence, the judge made it clear that Batley would be eligible to seek parole only once it was determined he no longer represented a danger to the public.

A major part of that process is to admit his guilt, something he vehemently denied throughout the trial, the court heard.

His wife was was found guilty of three counts of indecency with a child and one of sexual activity with a child.

Marling was found guilty of one count of aiding and abetting rape, one of causing prostitution for gain and one of inciting a child to engage in sex.

She was also found guilty of three separate counts of indecency with a child.

Millar was found guilty of indecency with a child and inciting a child to engage in sex.

Another woman, Sandra Iveson, 45, was cleared of the one charge she faced of indecency with a child.

After Friday's hearing, victims of the cult expressed their relief at the outcome and welcomed the sentences.

PC Lynsey David, of Dyfed-Powys Police, read out a statement agreed by all the victims: "It has been a nightmare journey for each and every one of us and we hope that this can be the start of a new beginning.

"We have experienced the worst that life can throw at us and all we want to do now is move forward with our lives."

The victims urged anyone who may have suffered similar abuse in their own lives to come forward and report it to police.

'Horrific crimes'

Det Ch Insp Mark Bergmanski said the police were "delighted" with the outcome of the trial and paid tribute to the victims for coming forward.

Head of the Crown Prosecution Service's complex case unit for Wales, Tom Atherton, said: "The prosecution was able to show that Colin Batley was at the centre of this activity and it is right that his sentence reflects this.

"However, all of those sentenced today are guilty of horrific crimes and therefore it is also right that they have received lengthy sentences."

He added that the physical, emotional and psychological impact of the crimes on the victims should not be forgotten.

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