Sex abuse cult had 'classic traits' says expert

Cult ringleader Colin Batley
Image caption Colin Batley was identified as the ringleader of a sex cult in Kidwelly

An expert on cult recruitment methods says the Kidwelly sex cult could have turned up in any community.

Ian Haworth, general secretary of the Cult Information Centre, said the group led by Colin Batley appeared to show many of the classic traits.

"Sadly it's something I've heard year after year in the 32 years I've worked full time in this field," he said.

"People fall under the control of the leader who does with them as he chooses and they will obey orders accordingly."

Mr Haworth has worked as a full-time specialist, consultant and expert witness in cultism since 1979, informed by his own experience as a former member of a cult.

He told BBC Wales that cult leaders often used techniques such as food and sleep deprivation to break people down.

This could happen in a matter of three of four days, he explained.

"It seems to work best on people with very healthy minds," he said.

"A lot of people imagine that people that get involved in cults must be troubled or warped in some particular way to start with, and that's rarely the case."

Mr Haworth said between 500 and 1,000 cults were operating throughout the UK.

"It's a growing phenomenon and each person that's recruited becomes an automatic recruiter of others," he said.

"They are in major cities and they are in quiet, rural areas as well.

"Cults can have an impact on a community, wherever that community is and however large or small that community is."

"As a parent I'm very disturbed by the information I've read, the allegations of the sexual abuses of children and others.

"That's always upsetting for any parent I would imagine."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites