Sex cult leader 'could die in jail'

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An "evil" sex cult leader who preyed on children and forced women into prostitution was jailed today and warned he could be behind bars for life.

Colin Batley, 48, presided over a cult which used satanic rites in perverted sex orgies which were carried out from homes in a quiet cul-de-sac in West Wales.

Batley was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection at Swansea Crown Court with a recommendation that he serves a minimum of 11 years.

Three female members of the cult were also given jail sentences.

Jacqueline Marling, 42, described as "Batley's right-hand woman", was jailed for 12 years for her part in the depraved satanic sex cult.

The estranged wife of the cult leader, Elaine Batley, 47, was jailed for eight years.

Shelly Millar, 35, described during the trial as Batley's "sex slave", was jailed for five years.

Vincent Barden, 70, of Kempston, Bedfordshire, who was not a cult member, was jailed for three years for admitting two counts of sexual assault on an underage girl.

Judge Paul Thomas QC, passing sentence on Batley, said he would not be eligible to go before a parole board for a minimum of 11 years.

"That means, of course, you may never be released," he added.

Batley was the self-styled high priest of the cult, which was based around a series of homes in a cul-de-sac in Kidwelly, west Wales.

Judge Thomas detailed how Batley had moved from London to Wales in the 1990s and eventually based the cult in Kidwelly.

"What happened thereafter has besmirched the unsuspecting town of Kidwelly."

He added: "You formed a community within a community, you were described as evil. That, in my view, is an entirely accurate statement of your character.

"It is likely that you have dedicated your life since you were 12 years old to satisfying your sexual urges by whatever means at your disposal."

The judge also launched a blistering attack on the works of arch- occultist Aleister Crowley, which inspired the Kidwelly cult.

Batley and his disciples used Crowley's The Book Of The Law, which praises prostitution and free sex, as a guide for their own depraved actions.

Judge Thomas told Batley he had used the occult to manipulate and control his victims.

"It seems to have had its origins with Aleister Crowley and his Book Of The Law, which is, by any standard, a ludicrous document."

He said Batley and the other female cult members used "The Book" to justify everything they did.

"You set yourself up as ruler in your own sick kingdom" and were "surrounded by three women who danced to your attendance".

He said it was no coincidence that in Millar's address book, seized by the police in evidence, Batley was written in under "My Lord".

During the judge's hard-hitting summing-up, victims of the cult who testified against the group, and who cannot be named, sat sobbing.

The judge also highlighted how Batley took pleasure in forcing women into prostitution, taking a 25% cut of their earnings.

Several victims were sent to Bristol to sell themselves for cash but were required to tell Batley details of what they did to earn it.

"You revelled in being provided with the salacious details of what they had to do to earn you money," Mr Thomas told Batley.

The judge also noted the way that Batley sat back and "smirked from the dock" as he listened to evidence during the five-week trial.

Jailing Marling, the judge told her: "You were clearly besotted with him and the Book Of The Law and I view you effectively as his second-in-command.

"You have fully lived up to your mentor, Aleister Crowley."

Batley's estranged wife sobbed in the dock as she was jailed.

Earlier the court heard that she had tried to take her own life several times and was currently on "suicide watch".

Batley was said today to have been active as a molester and rapist of children and young people for more than three decades.

Passing sentence today, the judge made it clear that he would only be eligible to seek parole once it was determined he no longer represented a danger to the public.

A major part of that process is to admit his guilt, something he vehemently denied throughout the trial.

His sentence begins minus the 398 days he has already served in custody before his conviction.

The court also heard today that none of those involved in the cult had any previous convictions.

After the hearing today, victims of the cult expressed their relief at the outcome and welcomed the sentences.

Constable Lynsey David, of Dyfed Powys Police (DPP), read out a statement agreed by all the victims who figured in the case.

"It has been a nightmare journey for each and every one of us and we hope that this can be the start of a new beginning.

"We have experienced the worst that life can throw at us and all we want to do now is move forward with our lives."

They also collectively urged anyone who may have suffered similar abuse in their own lives to come forward and report it to the police.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Bergmanski said the police were "delighted" with the outcome of the trial.

He paid tribute to all those involved in bringing the case to a successful conclusion.

"It was a very complicated and complex inquiry," he said.

He also paid tribute to the victims who came forward and made today's outcome possible.