Bogus Satanic Ritual Abuse Accusation Resulted in Another Tragedy

The latest issue of Private Eye magazine (1302, p. 32) has an article about yet another tragedy resulting from a bogus accusation of Satanic Ritual Abuse, focusing on a mentally-ill woman who “was found dead in mysterious circumstances in 2005” after years of estrangement from her family. The woman, named Carole Myers (formerly Carol Felstead), had been persuaded by therapists that

Her parents were supposed to be the High Priest and High Priestess of a Satanic cult who dug up graves and performed ritual sacrifices, including murder.

The article names four therapists who had treated Myers, beginning in 1985:

Carol’s medical records reveal that these therapists included Dr Fleur Fisher, a former head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association; Valerie Sinason… then a child psychotherapist based at the Tavistock Clinic in London; Dr Rob Hale, a consultant psychotherapist, psychiatrist and adult psychotherapist, based at the Tavistock; and the late Vera Diamond, then a Harley Street self-styled psychotherapist who specialised in mind numbing relaxation therapy and deprogramming brainwashed cult victims.

A 1991 letter from one consultant psychiatrist to another mentions Carol’s “emotional distress because of the work she was doing with Police in re-living distressing details of the alleged satanic ritual abuse she suffered as a child”, when in fact there was no police investigation. However, her family has since asked police to look into the allegations against them, and the Eye quotes a 2009 letter from Det Supt Grant Lander of Wandsworth police:

The relationship Dr Fisher developed with Carol in my opinion was misguided. There is absolutely no evidence that I have obtained in my investigation that showed Carol ever suffered abuse by yourself or by any members of your family.

As for the circumstances of Carol’s death in 2005, she “was found dead in her flat [in Wandsworth] following a 999 call to the Met Police by Dr Fisher while she was on a train to Manchester”. Fisher then “told the police, Battersea Coroner’s Office and the housing association which owned Carol’s flat that she was Carol’s next of kin and executor, and she started to arrange her cremation”. The family, which had begun to re-establish contact with Carol, was not told for two weeks, although they managed to halt the planned cremation. The coroner had recorded an open verdict on the cause of death.

Further details are available from a website created by Carol’s family.

The Eye also notes that Carol was Sinason’s “first such patient in the UK”; Sinason “has since said in an interview that over the next two years she and Hale treated 51 ‘ritually abused patients'”. Private Eye has followed Sinason’s work over a number of years: in 2006 it was reported that she had “offered her expertise” in the case “Adam”, the murdered West African boy whose torso was found by the Thames in 2001; in 2008 she delivered the keynote talk at a conference of London childcare workers, on the subject of “ritual abuse and Dissociative Identity Disorder”, and she contributed to a book entitled entitled Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I gave an overview of the “Satanic Panic” saga here.

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