Murder victim was in child abuse gang that used daggers and gowns to frighten young victims, court hearsFormer parish councillor Peter Solheim named during sexual abuse trial Solheim was brutally murdered and dumped in the English Channel in 2004His girlfriend Margaret James was later jailed for plotting the murder
Solheim named during trial of Peter Petrauske and Jack KempTrio were allegedly part of pagan gang that abused children in Cornwall



00:37 GMT, 12 December 2012

Murdered parish councillor turned pagan Peter Solheim was part of a child abuse gang that used satanic imagery such as daggers and gowns to intimidate victims, a court heard yesterday.

Solheim was named during the trial of two other men facing a string of sexual offence charges dating back to the 1970s.

Satantist Solheim was brutally murdered and dumped in the Channel off the coast of Cornwall in 2004, having been drugged and mutilated with a weapon.

Peter Solheim


Deadly relationship: Peter Solheim, left, was found murdered and drugged off the Cornwall coast in 2004. His girlfriend Margaret James, right, was jailed for conspiring to murder Solheim in 2006

His former girlfriend Margaret James was jailed for her involvement in the murder in 2006, having become jealous about an affair, but her accomplice has never been found.

Solheim was accused of being a member of a pagan gang, operating in Cornwall from the 1970s onwards, who plied children with alcohol before making them undress in front of robed men.

Victims were sexually abused by their tormentors, before being silenced by sweets and money, Truro Crown Court heard.

The allegations were made during the case of Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp, also accused of being part of the gang.

Prosecutor Jason Beal told the court that Petrauske, 72, who referred to himself as the 'high priest of a white witch coven', had named both Solheim and Kemp.

He said: 'When the police arrested Peter Petrauske, without them mentioning any names, he came out with the names Jack Kemp and Peter Solheim.'

'He knew the names because he had been a part of that gang – not a gang of pagans but a gang of child abusers.'

Mr Beal said that victims had also reported being abused by Solheim.

Peter Petrauske, pictured, is accused of being part of a pagan sex gang that abused children in Cornwall from the 1970s

White witch: Peter Petrauske, pictured, is accused of being part of a pagan sex gang that abused children in Cornwall from the 1970s

Following suggestions from Petrauske's defence that he was the victim of a 'witch-hunt', Mr Beal said: 'They (the alleged victims) are not people who have just picked out the local weirdo (in an ID parade). It is because of what he did [to them].'

In 2005, Stanley Pirie, a friend of Petrauske and Kemp, was convicted at the same court of child sex abuse.

One of his victims who gave evidence during that trial has since accused Petrauske and Kemp of also sexually abusing her during the same period of her childhood.

Kemp faces 15 charges of sexual assaults on youngsters aged between just three and 15, while Petrauske, faces three charges of indecent assault and one of rape.

The abuse charges span three decades from the late 1970s to 2009, the jury was told.

But counsel for the duo yesterday told the jury that Petrauske and Kemp played no part in the abuse.

Referring to his client as a 'weirdo', Sean Brunton defending Petrauske, said 'medieval justice' was used to torture and kill people who behaved strangely or differently as soon as others began to point the finger of accusation.

The jury at Truro Crown Court, pictured, heard from one victim who said she was given alcohol and told to dance in front of a camera

Pagan accusations: The jury at Truro Crown Court, pictured, heard from one victim who said she was given alcohol and told to dance in front of a camera

He added: 'Don’t fall into the trap of thinking: ‘Who does he (Petrauske) think he is He’s obviously a weirdo’.

'While those who don’t follow the crowd are criticised, it’s not yet illegal to be a weirdo.

'All a defendant can do in a case like this is to say: “I didn’t do it. I have never done it. I will say it again, I didn’t know them (the alleged victims).”’

Jo Martin, defending 69-year-old Kemp, said the case against her client was one of 'no smoke without fire', after the jury had been told of Kemp’s previous convictions for sexual offences several decades ago.

'You cannot convict someone solely on previous behaviour or his associations,' she said. 'That would be entirely wrong.'

Ms Martin added: 'There’s no doubt that Jack Kemp was friends with Stanley Pirie and is friends with his co-defendant, Peter Petrauske. But Jack Kemp is not involved in paganism.'

She said her client had been to 'two or three' pagan meetings and some social events, but that this had been in the mid-to-late 1990s, after the alleged abuse took place.

She added: 'The pagan aspect is high drama. But it has absolutely nothing to do with Jack Kemp. That is the biggest red herring of this particular case.'

The court previously heard how the pair were also interested in 'wife-swapping'.

Kemp’s ex wife Pamela James, said that she and ‘German Pete’ Petrauske had sex a number of times between the early 70s and 80s.

Mrs James, who divorced Kemp after his arrest last December, said: 'My husband knew about it, he wanted me to. It was a wife swapping stage we went through.'

She said her then husband also slept with another woman in their home in Falmouth, Cornwall, as she slept downstairs.