UK

Dad falsely accused of 'satanic' abuse speaks of ordeal

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Media caption"They said I'd sexually abused [my children]"

A father falsely accused of abusing his two children as part of a "satanic cult" has spoken of the "horrific" allegations he faced.

In an exclusive interview, Ricky says he is still receiving death threats from people who believe the claims.

In March, a family court judge dismissed the claims - also posted in internet videos - as "baseless".

She said the children had been forced to make the allegations by their mother and her new partner.

Ricky - the BBC is not publishing his full name in order to protect his children - told the Victoria Derbyshire programme the first he knew about the allegations was last September when he was told to go to a police station.

The claims - that he led a "satanic cult" in north London and that he and other members carried out the abuse - had been made by his children in mobile phone recordings and two police interviews.

Their names and videos of them making the allegations were also widely circulated online by their mother and campaigners.

'Horrific detail'

"My children, my two children, eight and nine, they'd said that I'd sexually abused them and I was selling them to people in this satanic cult thing. They named 60, 70, 80 people," he said.

"They'd said we were killing babies, I was shipping them in, we would cut the babies' throats and drain their blood and then would drink the blood. It's just horrific upon horrific detail."

Delivering her judgement at the High Court, Mrs Justice Pauffley said the children had been forced to concoct accounts of horrific events and that their stories were a result of relentless emotional and psychological pressure and significant physical abuse by their mother's new partner in collaboration with their mother.

Ricky said imagining what his children had been through was what he found most difficult.

"We're talking about their heads, mixed up, messed up, it's just sick," he said.

"Having to go and watch these videos when your own children say these things about you, imagine what the children must have had to do in their own psyche, their own minds, to eventually give up to beatings and stuff to say this stuff."

Family court proceedings are normally confidential but in this case the judge took the unusual decision to publish her judgement.

In it, she exonerated the father and all the other people alleged to be involved, stating that the claims were "baseless" and that those who sought to perpetuate them were "evil and/or foolish".

But Ricky is still suffering abuse from the public.

He said: "I get death threats. Today, yesterday, still. Comments, 'paedo', whatever. I understand, I get it.

"What we have is a 77-page judgement totally clearing me 100%."

Videos online

The children have been taken into care and Ricky hopes to obtain custody at a future date.

Ricky said when he was cleared, "my thought was, 'OK, let's go and start to take things forward seeing [the] children more.'"

The judge said online material about the children had been viewed four million times around the world and this could cause them distress in years to come.

Ricky says there are court orders regarding the publishing of online material. "But they are for UK, which is why online it's like the wild, wild West," he said.

"You have people from around the world who have downloaded them then re-uploaded them and nothing can be done. I would understand it if there was truth to it. But it hasn't happened.

"We don't know the long-term impact [on the children]. With a lot of patience, a lot of love, I'm hoping if you can have a good understanding yourself and educate them about things and give them wisdom and knowledge in a caring environment, I truly think it's going to be OK.

"There will always be a shadow but it's not going to overrule our lives."

Ricky and the children's mother, who were not married, separated in 2006, after which Ricky says she began obstructing access to the children.

Over five years of private proceedings, he said he saw seven judges on nine different occasions as she continually breached orders to allow him to see the children.

He said during this time the mother made various allegations about him - but that these were never properly investigated by the court.

The Victoria Derbyshire programme approached the mother and partner for a response but did not get a reply.

The Metropolitan Police in Barnet and Camden said it was working together with the support of Barnet and Camden councils to investigate allegations concerning articles and videos posted on the internet.

Victoria Derbyshire is broadcast weekdays from 09:15-11:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel. Follow the programme on Facebook and Twitter, and find all our content online.