In what has been described as one of the worst cases of child sex abuse in recent decades, seven members of a paedophile gang have been found guilty of running a monstrous child sex abuse ring. They operated by posing as “witches and wizards” in a Glasgow drugs den. The trial, spanning over two months, concluded on Tuesday with the jury delivering verdicts of sexual assault and rape against the seven perpetrators in Glasgow High Court.
The NSPCC, a children’s charity, has expressed shock and condemned the acts committed in this case. According to the charity, the details presented during the trial paint a horrifying picture, making this an exceptionally disturbing case. The victims, primary school-aged children, were subjected to an array of heinous acts, including group rapes, during a period spanning from 2010 to 2020. The young victims were given alcohol and cocaine by the gang members while being abused at various locations, including what they referred to as the “beauty house.”
Older children were forced to abuse younger victims during prolonged attacks, referred to in court as “child rape nights.” Reports indicate that money was exchanged by some of the perpetrators after these abhorrent sexual attacks, while others were heard laughing.
The seven individuals found guilty of sexual assault and rape were Iain Owens, Elaine Lannery, Lesley Williams, Paul Brannan, Scott Forbes, Barry Watson, and John Clark. Owens, Lannery, Williams, and Brannan were also found guilty of attempted murder, while Owens, Williams, and Brannan faced additional charges related to drug offences. Marianne Gallagher was convicted of assault but cleared of other charges. Three individuals were acquitted of all charges.
During the trial, the jury heard pre-recorded testimonies and police interviews of the young victims. Shockingly, one child disclosed being placed inside a microwave, an oven, a refrigerator, and a freezer as an attempted murder. The victims believed their attackers possessed magical abilities to transform them into animals using their “magic wands.”
Defence lawyers had attempted to cast doubt on the credibility of the victim’s testimonies, but the prosecution argued that fabricating such crimes would be unfathomably devious and condemned the acts as “monstrous.”
Matt Forde, the NSPCC’s development director, described the case as truly shocking. He emphasised that the public will find it difficult to comprehend the level of suffering and abuse these children endured. Forde stated, “You can only imagine the terror and miserable existence that these children had.”