Cult leader 'was blackmailed by daughter'

THE LEADER of a 'weird and bizarre' cult was blackmailed by his daughter, who threatened to tell newspapers that he physically and sexually abused her and other children, a jury was told yesterday.

Rebecca Teacher, now 18, told police she and other children were treated like slaves at the cult commune near Bangor in North Wales, the Old Bailey was told. She said her father, Kevin O'Byrne, now 55, forced children to beat each other up. He also beat the children with curtain rails or horse whips.

David Bate, for the prosecution, alleged that Ms Teacher and her stepfather, William Webb, carried out a blackmail campaign last year. He said Ms Teacher told police she demanded between pounds 40,000 and pounds 60,000 from her father after failing to sue him for damage she allegedly suffered in childhood.

Ms Teacher and Mr Webb, 43, deny conspiracy to blackmail. The trial continues.