Kidwelly paedophile ring developed into 'quasi religious cult,' jury told
FIVE defendants standing trial charged with sex offences against children were members of a "quasi religious cult", a jury was told.
Swansea Crown Court heard it was alleged that the "bizarre" group were closely entwined, and had moved to neighbouring properties in Clos yr Onnen in Kidwelly from London.
In addition, a sixth defendant, Vincent Barden, 70, who denies one count of rape, lives in Bedfordshire.
Prosecutor Peter Murphy QC, said the group was allegedly led by "principle defendant" Colin Batley, 48, and the cult "was used as an excuse to justify" their behaviour.
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The co-accused are his wife Elaine Batley, 47, Jacqueline Marling, 42, Sandra Iveson, 45, and Shelly Millar, 35.
Mr Murphy said it was the prosecution's case that the abuse was against five complainants, all of whom cannot be identified for legal reasons.
All of the defendants have denied a total of 46 charges between them.
Yesterday Mr Murphy informed jurors that Barden, of Kempston, Bedfordshire had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault on a child.
Colin Batley, who faces multiple charges of rape, buggery and possessing an indecent photo of a child, is also accused of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and indecent assault.
"He is, say the Crown, an evil and manipulative sexual predator," said Mr Murphy.
"He's preyed on the young and vulnerable."
He added that Batley and his wife had indulged in wife swapping when they were younger and in reference to the alleged offences, Colin Batley had corrupted others and had been described as a "control freak" and a manipulator.
"Some form of quasi religious cult developed involving all of these defendants," said Mr Murphy.
"The Crown say that was used as a vehicle to justify and excuse sexual activity between themselves and sexual assaults to children."
Mr Murphy said that in the course of the trial, jurors would hear about the Kidwelly group of five, allegedly reading from "a Book of the Law", and holding a cult meeting where they "donned hooded robes" and sex acts were performed on both Colin Batley and Jacqueline Marling.
He added that all four women bore tattoos as a sign of the cult.
Colin Batley and Marling also face a charge of "causing prostitution", while in addition Marling is accused of sexual activity with a child, gross indecency and aiding and abetting a rape alleged to have been committed by Colin Batley.
Barden is accused of one charge of rape alleged to have been aided and abetted by Colin Batley.
Elaine Batley and Millar both face separate charges of offences of gross indecency and sexual activity with a child, while Iveson also faces a charge of gross indecency.
The trial continues.