Eleven on trial accused of sexually abusing children and witchcraft

The 11 people are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire) (PA Wire)
The 11 people are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire) (PA Wire)

Eleven people have gone on trial accused of sexually abusing children and involving them in witchcraft.

The seven men and four women face 32 charges between them, all of which they deny.

It is alleged all the accused forced two children to participate in seances, used a Ouija board to convince the children they could “communicate with spirits and demons”, and made them participate in classes involving witchcraft causing them to believe they had “metamorphosed” into animals on various occasions between 2016 and 2020.

It is also alleged all the accused “stabbed” dogs to death and forced two children to stab them in 2018.

Iain Owens, 45; Elaine Lannery, 39; Lesley Williams, 41; Paul Brannan, 41; Marianne Gallagher, 38; Scott Forbes, 50; Barry Watson, 47; Mark Carr, 49; Richard Gachagan, 45; Leona Laing, 50; and John Clark, 46; deny all charges against them.

Owens, Lannery, Williams, Brannan and Clark are accused of attempting to murder a girl, who was allegedly put in a microwave, forced to eat dog food, and hung by her clothes from a nail, as well as being chased by people wearing a devil mask, on occasions between December 2015 and June 2019.

Some of the accused face charges of rape and other charges include possession of Class A drugs.

There are also claims members of the group “did clap, cheer and verbally encourage” as well as video record children being sexually abused.

It is alleged the offences happened between 2010 and 2020 at various locations in Glasgow, with the first offence involving a child alleged to have happened in 2012.

There are allegations involving four children.

The group was accused of forcing alcohol and drugs on a girl, causing her “to dress in lingerie and dance in a sexualised manner”, and “instruct her to remove her clothing”.

The charge alleges the girl was raped, while the women “verbally encouraged” it, between October 2018 and June 2019.

Another child was allegedly raped within the same time period, with the group accused of filming it.

Lannery and Owens are accused of perverting the course of justice between 2018 and 2020.

The court heard Police Scotland’s child abuse investigation unit launched a probe in March 2020.

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, continues before Lord Beckett.