Railway ritual claim of sex 'victim'

A WOMAN who claimed she was the victim of ritualistic sex abuse as a schoolgirl has described how a couple took her to a disused railway line to take part in a ritual.

A WOMAN who claimed she was the victim of ritualistic sex abuse as a schoolgirl has described how a couple took her to a disused railway line to take part in a ritual.

The alleged victim said David and Bette Stalford had walked with her to a patch of open land in Sicklesmere, where they had all took off their clothes and put on robes.

She alleged all three had then stood in a circle, but David Stalford had heard a noise and had gone off to investigate. When he returned, he told the other two to get dressed and they had left the area without anything happening.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, the woman told how she had been recruited for "quasi-satanic rituals" by the couple after David Stalford had asked her if she was still a virgin.

She said David Stalford had explained that he and his wife were members of a group and that they performed rituals.

On one occasion when she was about 11 she was allegedly taken into the Stalfords' living room, where an altar was laid out with a white cloth and with a rosary draped over a bible that was propped up against a wall.

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The woman said David Stalford had been alone in the room with her and asked if she would like him to show her how the rituals worked, but she had said no.

She had later spoken to Bette Stalford about what David Stalford had told her and she had confirmed there were rituals and told her they were not anything to worry about.

A couple of weeks later the woman was allegedly told by David Stalford to have a bath and to put on a blue robe, which he gave her.

She was taken to the living room of their home where candles and incense sticks were burning and a makeshift bed had been set up.

"I was told to take my robe off and they took their robes off. I was told to stand in a circle and hold hands with them both," said the woman.

David Stalford had explained to her that in the rituals they all had to touch each other and he would show her what to do.

He had then allegedly run his hand over his wife's naked body and his wife had done the same to him and then given him oral sex. They then told their alleged victim to do the same, but she told them she was not ready.

Bette Stalford, 55, had then allegedly touched the girl's body and then held onto her wrists and got the girl to touch her body.

The woman claimed she had also seen a photograph of David Stalford with his hand on the head of another alleged victim aged 16 or 17 who was giving him oral sex.

The Stalfords, of Oak Hill, Hollesley have denied six joint offences of indecent assault and six alternative offences of indecency with a child.

David Stalford, 56, has also denied five offences of indecent assault and four offences of indecency with a child.

Cross-examined by Martyn Levett, defending David Stalford, the woman denied "lying her head off" and inventing the allegations.

The trial continues today.

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