The JET Report

For information about the background to this report, click here.

(Part 5 of 5)


Places and People Investigated

We found no evidence to substantiate the claims of the children and the corroborating adults. Tunnels and rooms that they had identified did not exist. The three 'corroborating' adults were willing to tell you anything. In our view they could not be considered corroborative witnesses of anything the children had said. [Jane] had already retracted her statement before the enquiry and claimed that she knew [Mandy] was telling lies. We consider it was unlikely that they were 'independent' of the children as Wardship papers containing extracts from the Children's Diaries were found in the family households. In [Jane]'s records we found statements such as: [Jane] "In the Affidavit [James] told about the hole" "It's like [James] says in the Affidavits that I used to hit him".

Analysis of the Children's Diaries

We can accept that these children may have been sadistically terrorized by their family but we cannot support the interpretation of organized Satanic abuse that has been made from them. It is important to note that the only real evidence presented to us for the belief in Satanic abuse in the Broxtowe case is the Diaries.

Research into Satanism and Witchcraft

We do not consider that the Satanic indicators used by the Social Services Department have any validity and the information that we have on the author does not enhance their acceptability.

Our own research in Satanism and witchcraft left us with the view that there is very little if any empirical physical evidence to substantiate the claims that have been made. We doubt the existence of organised Satanic abuse as currently promulgated. Nevertheless it must be recognised that rent boys and paedophile rings do exist and it is always possible that an isolated cult on the "Charles Manson" model could arise.

Research into the International Scene

(USA, Canada and Holland)

If the articles that we have read are accurate it would appear that since the eruption of the McMartin case in the USA in August 1983 there has been a modern day witch hunt in the USA. The original cases of McMartin and Jordan have now finally ended with the acquittal of all the defendants. The reports suggest that the practices of social workers and therapists are now being questioned.

In both Holland and Canada the police's inability to find evidence and the social workers belief in the children's stories has led to considerable conflict between their respective agencies. The reports about Lyndon La Rouche with the emphasis on accusing Day Centre workers suggests that the accusation and promulgation of Satanic abuse can be used for political purposes. We now have the hypothesis (which cannot of course be proved) that Satanic abuse as a phenomenon is based on either or both of the following:-

  1. a political weapon to discredit opponents
  2. therapists unwittingly creating it themselves

Interview with the Experts used by Social Services

We found them very vague and they could not provide us with any actual evidence of Satanic abuse. Mr. W. mentioned some cases but we checked all these and they appeared to have no foundation.

The Disclosures of [Mary] and the Other Satellite Cases

We found this illuminating. If our judgements and those of our consultants are correct [Mary]'s case demonstrates how evidence can for want of a better term be "created" i.e. you start with nothing except your own beliefs and end up with the story that you expected and wanted to hear before you started.

It must be borne in mind, however, that as this was not an enquiry into staff conduct we have been unable to interview the social workers concerned to find out their explanation. We have had to rely upon the written material which we assume to be accurate and the video interviews.

We find it alarming, if we understand the Area Director's reply to us correctly, that the staff do not appear to have questioned their own practice in this case but consider that the Police interview was unacceptable. If our view is correct Nottinghamshire social workers are not alone in this. It could explain a phenomenon that has been puzzling everybody in the UK, USA, Canada and Holland. The Police can find no evidence, but the social workers believe the children. The Police in even their most jaundiced moments, however, would not consider the possibility that all the 'evidence' had arisen from the social workers' disclosure/therapy methods. The social workers would not recognise this because they are not aware that they are doing it i.e. they are not fabricating evidence as a deliberate corrupt conscious act. The result would always be irreconcilable conflict.

We consider that much further work needs to be done on this by independent, highly qualified professionals as it has serious implications for social work practice. We can only surmise that there are great dangers if the initial theory is wrong and social workers are working in isolation. In the field of sexual abuse the dangers are magnified as all social workers know that children are reluctant to disclose and only do so in a piecemeal fashion.

Research into other cases in the UK

The experience of Humberside would appear to confirm that a similar process can happen elsewhere if the interviewer has a belief in Satanic abuse.


The Broxtowe family was the largest child abuse case yet found in this country and was probably unique with regard to the extent of sexual abuse disclosed and the nature of the disclosures. It is understandable that involvement with the children could well lead one to believe that anything could happen. It is doubtful whether anybody as the time could have come to the right conclusions. As a Team we know how it affected us initially and are aware of some of the wilder expectations that we had.

In our view that choice of experts was unfortunate and the use of the Satanic Indicators which appear so convincing was disastrous. The willingness of adult members of the family to fabricate stories even if they were encouraged to do so was grossly misleading. The social workers were faced with a new phenomenon outside their experience and it is not difficult to understand how they set off on their particular road.

The unwillingness of the Police to engage in a joint investigation in the aftermath of the Broxtowe case left the social workers isolated and without any real means of checking their suspicions. We are all aware that it is easy to criticise with the benefit of hindsight.

Unfortunately, two years were allowed to elapse without the social workers views being challenged by any contrary independent evidence. If anything the stream was flowing the other way. Satanic abuse as a concept appears to be contagious and additional evidence was cropping up all over the country. The pace has quickened in the last three months. When we spoke to the NSPCC less than six months ago they had no information to give us but we now read that "an increasing number of the society's child protection teams are dealing with children who have been ritualistically abused".

We are less sympathetic with the current attitude of the staff involved in the Broxtowe case. In our view two years later on an unshakeable belief system in Satanic ritualistic abuse appears to have developed which could easily lead into a modern day "witch hunt" (as has happened in the USA). All the elements appear to us to be present; rigid preconceived ideas, dubious investigative techniques, the unwillingness to check basic facts, the readiness to believe anything, however bizarre, the interest in identifying prominent people, with widening of the net to implicate others and the unwillingness to accept any challenge to their views. This may appear to be a harsh judgement but we would support it by the following examples:-

  • the social workers were present when [Mandy] and [Vivian] were interviewed on audio tape. They were present when [Mandy] the following day proved that her whole account was a fantasy. They were aware of our views upon it. The appear to have ignored these.
  • the social workers were present when [Mary] retracted her story. They were aware of our views on their own interviews but apparently preferred to believe that the police interviewing was faulty.
  • the social workers, rather than believe that [Mary] was not telling the truth (which would have cast doubt upon [Craig]'s, [James]'s and [Rebecca]'s disclosures) were more ready to believe that seven murders and cannibalism had taken place at Satanic parties in a council house front room to coincide with access visits even though this also meant the possibility of a social worker's collusion.
  • staff continued to make presentations to the Broxtowe case as "substantiated" Satanic ritual abuse while the Enquiry was still in progress and after they were aware of some of our views.
  • with the satellite cases the disclosures became even more bizarre and incredible. It is not possible to cook babies in microwave ovens in the way described by the children but the social workers appeared to believe this.


  1. That there is no evidence of Satanic ritual abuse in the Broxtowe case or its aftermath.
  2. That there is no evidence of any other organised abuse in the Broxtowe case or its aftermath.
  3. That there is no evidence of ritualistic abuse in the satellite cases.
  4. That we are unable to identify any other children at risk or any other perpetrators arising from the Broxtowe case and its aftermath.
  5. That it is doubtful whether the practice of the type of Satanic ritual abuse being promulgated by the Social Services Department actually exists. It has never been substantiated by empirical evidence. We have come to the hypothesis based on [Mary]'s case that evidence can actually be "created" by social workers as a result of their own therapeutic methods.
  6. That the lack of joint working in the follow up to the Broxtowe case led to a serious polarisation of the Police and Social Service Departments. Initially it was the Police who declined to work with Social Services on "bizarre cases", latterly the roles have been reversed.
  7. That parts of the Social Services Department appear to have developed over the last two years a belief system in ritualistic Satanic abuse which is unwittingly resulting in children being encouraged to believe in and allege bizarre abuse. This could lead eventually to grave injustice and if unchecked it has the ingredients of a modern "witch hunt".
  8. That if children in care continue to allege the most bizarre abuse to Social Services staff who appear to accept it, and the Social Services staff present these children to the Police weeks later with the final outcome that the ensuing Police interview discredits the disclosures then the relationships between Social Services and the Police will completely collapse.


a) The Effect of the Broxtowe Case on the Social Services Department

If we are correct in our findings and judgements there appear to be the following implications:-

1. That children could be emotionally abused

We have to consider the damage that may have been done to the children in working with them on the basis that they had been involved in experiences such as the slaughter of sheep and the killing of babies that had not actually happened. What has been done to [Mary] by convincing her that she was a child murderer who had indulged in acts of cannibalism or that she might kill again if she did not feel guilty?

2. The possibility of gross injustice

[Craig] identified a lodger (by means of a photograph) who lived with his aunt for a few months when he was no more than two and a half years of age. He also dictated a letter which could be used in a Wardship Hearing alleging that she was a witch who held witch parties and sexually abused him. If [Amy] had not retracted her disclosures twelve children could have been removed from their homes.

3. The influence of the Social Services Department nationally

The staff of our Social Services Department appear to be perceived as experts on Satanic ritualistic abuse and gave a presentation at a conference in Reading in September 1989 which included 230 representative from child protection agencies, child psychologists, police and social workers. The conference was told that the Nottingham Case appeared to involve Satanic rituals, that the staff were convinced the children were telling the truth and that they now gave advice to other social workers seeking information on Satanic rituals. The conference was reported in the press and a tape of it can be purchased. We are aware that many Police forces and Scotland Yard had intended to use this as substantiated evidence of Satanic abuse.

Social Services staff have given a presentation to all Nottinghamshire Area Directors and Group Principal Hospital Social Workers. We understand from an independent participant at the Presentation that it was convincing.

4. Police perception of Social Services Department

It is clear to us that the recent satellite cases have gravely damaged the Social Services Department's reputation with the Police. The Police have complained to us that children in care are alleging murder but they have then been kept in the dark for a considerable period of time before the children are ready for the Police interview. The Police have been astonished at some of the allegations that appear to be accepted by social workers such as the cooking of babies in microwave ovens (the body, we are told would explode).

A straightforward Police interview quickly discredited the children's allegations. [Reggie], for example, went on to include adults being cooked in microwave ovens. The Police subsequently learned that the social services claimed that Police Officers could not do satisfactory interviews of this type of disclosure. It is not surprising that some Police officers have become very angry and that the credibility of the Social Services Department has suffered.

b) Police - Social Service Relationships

We consider that the unwillingness of the Police to agree to joint working in the aftermath of the Broxtowe case led eventually to distrust and a failure of communication which contributed to the Social Services Department developing and enlarging upon its concept of Satanic ritual abuse. It would appear to us that the Social Services Department was never really aware of the full extent of the Police enquiries but was asked to accept assertions without detailed evidence being presented. By the time of the briefing at Hucknall it was too late and any additional information that appeared to dispute the Police findings created suspicion that no proper investigation had taken place. We consider that this was particularly unfortunate as the basis for the Police view was in our opinion fundamentally sound. They had investigated locations thoroughly, they were sceptical at the idea of the family murdering children in a semi-detached council house, (particularly after interviewing neighbours). They were aware that the adults were totally unreliable, they were suspicious as to the validity of the American literature and they had doubts about the interpretation of the diaries. We were surprised to discover that the Police had actually researched witchcraft and Satanism quite thoroughly.

Our own experience as a team has proved that Police and social workers can work perfectly well together and that they have more in common than suspected. The empirical approach of the Police with its emphasis upon evidence and checking can blend quite well with the rationalistic approach of social workers with its emphasis upon establishing hypotheses, logical consequences and an information base.

Faced with a very complex situation, however, (such as a paedophile ring) we would consider that it would be essential for the Police and social workers to be located in the same office together so that a trusting relationship based upon mutual respect and open debate could develop. Otherwise the preconceived stereotypes and differences in style, organisation and decision making would be likely to get in the way. We do not consider that in a "Broxtowe type of case" that real joint working could be achieved by meetings alone.

It is our view that if the current situation is allowed to persist that there could be a total breakdown of Police/Social Service relationships with incalculable consequences. At the present we are told that this has almost happened in one Police Division but it could spread to the rest of the county.

Parts of this report make uncomfortable reading, however, we take comfort from the following:

  • We consider that it is to the credit of Nottinghamshire, that faced with a very difficult situation, the initiative was taken to give the resources to set up a unique Police/Social Services team with independence and freedom. As far as we are aware this has never happened elsewhere.
  • Our own experience has proved that the Police and Social Services can work very well together and this should bode well for the long term future.
  • We hope that we have found a true perspective that has eluded other agencies. Both the USA and Canada have had the most expensive trials in their history. However, we consider that a great deal of extra work needs to be done with regard to further validation of our hypothesis re the connection between therapeutic/disclosure work and the children's stories of 'Satanic/ritual' abuse. We hope this report will see the start of a wider and more comprehensive investigation nationally.
  • If our conclusions are well founded then we hope that we have done something to prevent a repetition of the USA experience in this country. Recently claims have been made in the social work press that sexual abuse is occurring in 75% or even 100% of the nation's children's homes and the same report included ritual abuse in this context. In the Observer it was reported recently that "In the States, women abusers in day nurseries and in ritual abuse have been written about". If this country followed the precedent of the USA the next step would be extensive allegations of ritual /Satanic and sexual abuse against residential and day care workers.


  1. In future all child abuse allegations must be the subject of a joint approach by the Police and Social Services and they must be properly managed. Any disclosures made alleging such abuse must be communicated to the other agency promptly and should be confirmed in writing.
  2. If the case appears to be very complex either because of the scale indicated or because of the bizarre nature of the disclosures, immediate consultation should take place at the level of Detective Chief Superintendent, Head of CID and Assistant Director (Children's Division).
  3. The senior staff of both agencies should accept responsibility for the overall management of the case and the resolution of and difficulties or problems.
  4. It is essential in such complex or large scale cases that social workers and Police pursue their enquiries with the victim and the witnesses as a team together jointly although the interview of suspects should be a matter for the Police officers alone. Effective joint working in these cases will only take place if Police and social work staff are based in the same office. There is no other way to achieve the full and frank exchange of information and debate required.
  5. The management of child abuse investigations requires planning which balances the requirements of a successful prosecution, the protection of children and their welfare needs. Priorities, clear goals, identified tasks and shared expectations must be achieved. Police officers and social workers should have a clear understanding of their respective roles and be aware that information obtained may be of assistance for both evidential, protective and therapeutic purposes. The welfare of the child and the best way to achieve this must be the paramount consideration.
  6. Any outstanding or pending cases of bizarre child abuse within Social Services should immediately be referred by the relevant Area Director to the Assistant Director (Children's Services) who should be personally responsible for the planning of any further action.
  7. The use of the current information on "Satanic" ritualistic abuse/witchcraft within Social Services should be stopped immediately in the absence of any empirical evidence to support it. Presentations using this material, which in our view has no validity, should also cease immediately as it is contagious.
  8. Therapeutic/disclosure work which is currently being practised by social workers should be the subject of further rigorous examination and validation by an outside body of recognised expertise. In our view it is a minimal requirement that evidential work with the child must be completed before therapeutic work can commence.
  9. In view of the experience with the children and one of the satellite cases (and perhaps Canada) foster parents should not be used to obtain evidence in cases with ritualistic overtones.
  10. We would advise that care should be used in the recruitment of outside experts and that differing opinions should be sought. There would be obvious dangers in one expert recommending another. In forming a view of a child's perceptions child psychologists should be used as well as psychiatrists.
  11. We would advise that extreme caution should be used in eliciting the services of the media in this type of case.
  12. We would advise that wherever possible disturbed abused children should not be placed in the same foster home with other disturbed abused children as this is not consistent with the child's welfare. The use of family group foster homes in this respect should cease.
  13. We would advise that when Warded children make allegations of abuse an early application should be made to the Judge for permission for them to be jointly interviewed by the Police and social workers with a view to obtaining evidence.


W. Thorpe, Detective Sergeant

J. B. Gwatkin B.A. Hons (Social Science) Dip App Social Studies, Area Director

W. P. Glenn, Detective Policewoman

M. F. Gregory RMN CQSW PhD Candidate, Senior Social Worker

The other members of the original team were:-

Detective Superintendent R. S. Davy

(Deputy Head of Nottinghamshire CID)

D. C. Long B.A. (Sociology & Politics) M.A. (History of Education)/M.A. (Social Work), CQSW, Certificate of Education, Senior Social Worker

7th June 1990


The Legacy of the Beast - The Life, Work and Influence of Aleister Crowley, Gerald Suster, pub. W. H. Allen 1988

Israeli Pocket Library - Anti Semitism, from Encyclopedia Judacia pub. Keter 1974

The Complete Astrological Writings, Aleister Crowley, pub. Duckworth 1988

The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, pub. Penguin 1982

Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology, Introduced, Hans Holyer, pub. Octopus 1974

Ceremonial Magic, A. E. Waite, pub. Rider 1987

Private Papers of a 'Satanist' and 'Witch' (Unpublished)

Nursery Crimes, Sexual Abuse in Day Care, David Finkelhor, Linda Meyer Williams with Nancy Burns, pub. Sage Publications 1988

The Pursuit of the Millennium, Norman John, pub. Palladin 1956

Intellectual Signs of the English Revolution, Christopher Hill, pub. Panther 1965

Renaissance Europe 1480-1520, J. R. Hale, pub. Fontana 1971

Religion and the Decline of Magic, Keith Thomas, pub. Peregrine 1978

Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande of the Anglo Egyptian Sudan, pub. Oxford Clarendon Press 1937

The Fixer, Barnard Malamud, pub. Penguin 1967

The Making of Modern Russia, Lionel Koch, pub. Penguin 1968

Witchcraft and Black Magic, Peter Heining, pub. Hamlyn 1971

If this is a Man. The Truce, Primo Levi, pub. Abacus 1987

Europe's Inner Deamons, Norman John, pub. Heinemann 1975

The Trumpet Shall Sound, Peter Wormley, pub. Paladin 1970

The Pocket History of Freemasonry, Fred L. Pick and G. Norman Knight, publisher unknown

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Christopher Sykes, pub. History Today, Feb. 1967

The Diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder. A Critical Review, Thomas A. Fahy, pub. British Journal of Psychiatry 1988, 153.

Sir Hugh, or, the Jews Daughter from English and Scottish Popular Ballards, Professor Francis James Child, pub. Vol. 111, 5 Vols 1884 -1898. Reprint Dover 1965, New York

Illuminations, Thomas Pynchon

The King of the Shadow Realm, Aleister Crowley: His Life and Magic, John Symonds, pub 1989

Ellie and the Hagwitch, Helen Cresswell, pub. Corgi 1987

Multi-Racist Britain, edited Philip Cohen and Harvant S. Bains, pub. MacMillan 1988

The Witches' God, Janet and Stewart Farrar, pub. Robert Hale 1989

Persuasions of the Witches' Craft, Tany Luhrmann, pub. Basil Blackwell 1989 (From Witchcraft to Christ, Irvine, D. pub. concordia 1989)

The Reith Lectures, Unmasking Medicine, Ian Kennedy, pub. The Listener 6 Nov 1980)

The Rise of Professional Society Since 1980, Harold Perkin, pub. Routledge 1989

Therapy with Children who have been Ritually Abused, P. S. Hudson, Paper presented at The Seminar "The Third Wave, Current Issues in Child Abuse", The Child Abuse Prevention Council, Conta Costa County, March 31, 1989

Clinical Indications of Satanic Cult Victimisation, M. Key and Lawrence Klein, pub. Centre for Human Living Inc. Akron, Ohio

The Ritual Abuse of Children: Implications for Clinical Practice and Research, pub. Journal of Sex Research, Vol 26, No 1. February 1989

Indications of Ritualized Exploitation of Cult Behaviour (A Summary of three talks given May 1986 in New Orleans, LA by Wayne I. Munkel, MSW, Medical Social Consultant, Cardinal Glennon Childrens' Hospital)

Childwatch - Satanic Ritual Abuse, The Problem in England and How it Should be Tackled, G. D. Core, Humberside

Sexual Abuse of Children in America 1988, John Crewdson, pub. Little Brown & Co., Canada 1988

The Making of a Modern Witch Trial, Debbie Nathan, pub. Village Voice, September 1988

The Devil Rides Out, Bill Williamson, pub. 'She' Magazine, October 1988

When the Truth Hurts, Judith Dawson and Chris Johnson, pub. Community Care 3 March, 1989

Executive Intelligence Review, April 8, 1988 contains article entitled Satanic Pagan Cults Launch War on West, Mark Burdman

When Experts Build a Rotten Base, Keiran O'Hagan, pub. Social Work Today, 30 November 1989

Networks of Fear, pub. Social Work Today, 26 October 1989

(C) 1990 Report Copyright Nottinghamshire Social Services