South West Wales

Kidwelly sex cult: Town unaware of 'evil paedophile'

Kidwelly Castle
Image caption Kidwelly is described as a good place to live, adding to the "shock and dismay"

Arrive in Kidwelly in rural west Wales and you will be greeted with a scene typical of many of Wales' most picturesque towns.

A medieval castle, industrial museum, tranquil canal, idyllic countryside and a rugged, atmospheric coastline are among the attractions it boasts.

The locals describe it as a good place to live - sympathetic redevelopments, such as the quay area, a respected local business community and, of course, a low crime rate.

So far, so reassuring.

Imagine the shock then at news of an occultist group operating behind the doors of seemingly normal new-build houses.

Shock, the locals say, is something of an understatement.

As residents went about their daily life, they could not have imagined that Colin Batley, described as an "evil paedophile", was running a satanic sex cult from his home.

The self-styled high priest of the group, headed a paedophile ring run like a "quasi-religion".

Image caption Colin Batley has been told he faces a lengthy prison sentence

One victim, who was repeatedly abused by Batley, told how he treated women like slaves. Batley would wear a hood to abuse his victims.

Once in their grasp, he would call the children to his service by clicking his fingers.

On Wednesday, Batley and three other members of the cult were found guilty of more than 40 sexual offences against children and young adults.

"It boils down to two words, shock and dismay," says Geraint Thomas, Kidwelly Town Council town clerk.

"We didn't realise anything untoward was happening in Kidwelly at the time.

"It wasn't until we read it in the paper that this unfortunate incident was occurring and the publicity we're getting isn't helping Kidwelly at the moment."

Mr Thomas agreed that the fact Kidwelly was such a good place to live, had made the revelations even worse.

"Very much so and it is the topic of conversation at the moment," he said.

"We'd like to think a line will be drawn under this in a short space of time.

"We're very much a strong community... We will learn from the experience and we are committed to moving on."

Batley is due to be sentenced on Thursday following the five-week trial at Swansea Crown Court.

Maybe after that, Kidwelly will be able to begin the long process of "moving on".

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