SOURCE: The Times      DATE: 14 January 1995     PAGE: 5 

Children's claims of sexual abuse `drew on videos'; Parents speak out against police inquiry

By Paul Wilkinson

 ACCOUNTS from children involved in the Bishop Auckland case, in which all charges of satanic sex abuse were dropped after the prosecution offered no evidence, were similar to scenes in horror videos, one of the couples claimed yesterday.

  Vivienne Crosby and her husband Robert referred in particular to the films Hellraiser and Children of the Corn. Mrs Crosby, 47, a health visitor who has been under suspension since her arrest, said: ``Those were two of the films, along with a cartoon where characters are seen bowing down before a kind of god, which the alleged victims have seen. It seems a lot of what was said in statements was copied from these films and that expanded the youngsters' imaginations.''

  One of the children's statements concerned fish hooks, similar to a scene in Hellraiser where they are used to mutilate a man. Mr Crosby said: ``Much of the imagery seems to have come from the video films and I don't know why that wasn't discovered by those investigating from the very start.''

  They also accused the police of failing to make simple checks, proving they had alibis for the times when offences were allegedly committed. Mr Crosby, 47, said: ``Never at any stage were we asked where we were when the alleged offences took place. If we had been, it would have shown that we were often away, not even in the street.''

  As with the other couples on bail pending trial, they were ordered not to go within a mile of home. Meetings with their four children took place at relatives' houses.

  ``It's a complete disgrace and we want a public inquiry to ensure this never happens again to innocent people like us, '' Mr Crosby said. ``It was one monumental mistake from start to finish.'' They are taking legal advice.

  Mrs Crosby said: ``The children have put up with gossip and rumours but were very brave and coped admirably. There were times we were very low and it was the children and close family and friends who pulled us through.''

  Their home was turned into a fortress after a series of attacks. Bricks were thrown, their cars vandalised. and they received abusive phone calls.

  Mr Crosby said: ``My children had to suffer constant torment. It was very menacing.'' Their former neighbours, the Staineses, who were also arrested, have left for a secret address.

  A few doors away from the Crosbys, Brian Marsh, 46, a teacher, and his wife Pauline were having a tearful but happy reunion yesterday with their family. Mrs Marsh, 47, said: ``We've never had any doubts about coming back here. This is our home and it's where we belong. We will not be forced out by false accusations.

  ``I don't know how we will be treated by the families who accused us of these terrible things, but one thing is for sure, we are innocent and we will walk down this street with our heads held high.''

  Her husband will now consult his union about returning to work at his school. He said: ``I don't know whether I will be able to overcome my fear and mistrust of children that this has brought about. I realise now that they have enormous power. With one wild accusation they can ruin a life. I really am not sure I want to return to teaching after what I have experienced.''