Bruderhof leaver: 'I thought demons were going to fly out of me'

Former members of a Christian commune called the Bruderhof- which promotes the pursuit of a simpler, shared existence - have said their historical treatment as children left them psychologically damaged.

Samantha - not her real name - said that in the early-2000s, aged 22, community elders performed what she describes as an "exorcism" after she tried to take her own life at their site in Nonington, Kent.

The Bruderhof said Samantha saw external psychiatrists and it was wrong to call their prayers exorcisms. It said prayers would never be used as a substitute for medical care.

Other former members claimed the pressure to conform to the community's teachings - which ban "provocative" clothing and sex outside marriage - had left mental scars.

In a statement, the Bruderhof said the testimony of former members in this story presents a "misleading account" of the community.

"We are an open and welcoming Christian community who, while not perfect, are doing our best to make the world a better place," it said.

It added: "Ofsted has for decades been inspecting the provision we make for our children and has never found any cause for concern.

"The Bruderhof is 100 years old this year. In that time we haven't got everything right, for which we are sorry.

"We are committed to listening to anyone who feels hurt by their experiences with the Bruderhof."