'Witches' coven' sex abuse trial told of wife-swapping
The former wife of a man accused of sexually abusing young girls told a court he attended "witches' meetings" and encouraged her to wife-swap.
Prosecutors say Jack Kemp, 69, and Peter Petrauske, 72, were members of a witches' coven whose members donned robes and used daggers to launch sex attacks on girls in Cornwall.
The two friends deny a string of sexual offences, including assault and, in Petrauske's case, rape.
Jurors at Truro Crown Court have already heard the pair were involved in paganism from the 1970s onwards.
Yesterday Kemp's ex-wife Pamela James said he went to "witches' meetings" three to four times a week with Petrauske, who she admitted sleeping with.
Mrs James, who was married to Kemp for 40 years, gave evidence from behind a screen and wept several times.
She said she met Kemp in 1972 at Sidmouth, Devon, while he was a patient at the Starcross mental hospital after suffering a breakdown in the Army.
They moved to Falmouth where he became a gardener and later a tin miner.
Mrs James said during the 1980s for several weeks Kemp had slept with another woman at their home while she slept downstairs.
She said Petrauske, known as "German Pete" had "weird hobbies".
Mrs James said: "His (Petrauske's) house was full of weird ornaments – just weird little things – witch statues. He went to witches' meetings – Jack went along, too, three to four times a week."
When Jason Beal, prosecuting, asked if she knew one of her husband's friends, Stanley Pirie, was a convicted paedophile she said she had read about it in the press.
Under cross-examination from Jo Martin, representing Kemp, Mrs James admitted when she first met him she knew he was at Starcross after indecently assaulting a young girl.
Ms Martin put it to Mrs James that it was some time after 1974 when she slept with Petrauske.
The witness replied: "Yes – because he (Kemp) wanted me to." Ms Martin said: "Yes – a wife-swapping scene stage you went through."
The barrister said Kemp only attended the witches' meetings a few times and thought them "rather silly"– coming away on occasions with a pebble and half an apple core. She said he preferred to follow his own spiritualist faith instead.
Mrs Kemp replied: "No – he went more than that – he didn't think the meetings were silly."
The trial continues.