Court told of 'ritual' abuse

JURORS will today continue to hear how a couple allegedly forced teenage girls to strip before sexually assaulted them during "quasi-satanic rituals".One of the girls was given a white robe to put on before being taken into the living room at David and Bette Stalford's home, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

JURORS will today continue to hear how a couple allegedly forced teenage girls to strip before sexually assaulted them during "quasi-satanic rituals".

One of the girls was given a white robe to put on before being taken into the living room at David and Bette Stalford's home, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Simon Spence, prosecuting, said the Stalfords, who were also dressed in white robes, then removed their robes and indicated the girl should do the same.

When all three were naked, the girl - who had previously been asked if she was a virgin - was made to perform oral sex on David Stalford while both he and his wife held her.

Mr Spence told the court yesterday that on another occasion the girl had been indecently assaulted by David Stalford and told to fondle his wife, but the teenager pretended she could not reach her.

At a later date David Stalford had allegedly approached the girl and accused her of telling people about the rituals she had taken part in.

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When the girl denied telling anyone, David Stalford allegedly made her perform oral sex on him to prove she was telling the truth and to regain his trust.

Mr Spence claimed David Stalford had also recruited another teenager to join in the rituals after asking her if she was a virgin.

The girl was allegedly made to stand naked in a circle with the Stalfords, who had then started chanting.

Bette Stalford had allegedly run her hands over her naked husband's body and performed a sex act on him.

The girl was told to do the same and when she refused Bette Stalford allegedly touched the girl indecently and then guided the youngster's hands over her husband's body.

Mr Spence said on another occasion a makeshift bed had allegedly been set up in the Stalford's living room and the girl had been allegedly indecently assaulted by the couple.

"The abuse took the form of quasi-religious and quasi-satanic rituals," he told the court.

David Stalford, of Oak Hill, Hollesley, has denied five offences of indecent assault and four offences of indecency with a child.

The 56-year-old and his wife, 55, of the same address, have also denied six joint offences of indecent assault and six alternative offences of indecency with a child.

The court has heard the couple had formerly lived in Honington and Great Welnetham. The offences alleged against the Stalfords are said to have happened about 20 years ago.

Police were called in last year after the alleged victims made complaints about the couple.

Giving evidence yesterday, a third alleged victim told the court she had been shown indecent pictures of David Stalford and his wife together.

She claimed Stalford had indecently touched her and got her to touch him when she had been at his house.

The trial continues today.

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