Alleged violence by Glasgow 'paedophile ring' could have proved fatal, court told

An alleged paedophile ring reportedly carried out violence so extreme that it could have caused fatal injuries, a court has heard.

Regular "child rape nights" and "dog killing nights" were allegedly held in a Glasgow drugs den attended by heroin addicts, the city's High Court was told.

Eleven people are on trial accused of child sex abuse.

Iain Owens, 45; Elaine Lannery, 39; Lesley Williams, 41; Paul Brannan, 41; Marianne Gallagher, 38; Scott Forbes, 50; Barry Watson, 47; Mark Carr, 49; Richard Gachagan, 45; Leona Laing, 50; and John Clark, 46, deny the charges.

Three child complainants made allegations that originally related to witchcraft but developed to include child sex abuse, including rape and attempted murder, the court heard.

Defending, Iain McSporran KC said the level of sexual abuse a child was allegedly subjected to could have been fatal - but three days after it allegedly happened, the girl was seen by a Cordia care worker to be "happy and chatty".

Mr McSporran said the boy who made allegations told police "I have been lying" and "that was a lie", and officers "helped" with a list of names, while "guidelines" were not followed during interviews.

He said the addicts would have had to be "highly organised" to dispose of forensic evidence.

The defence advocate said a boy had made allegations he was subject to a similar attack to the one alleged to have happened to a female complainant - before confessing he was "just making it up".

Mr McSporran criticised Police Scotland for their role in the investigation, and said: "Imagine if police had paid attention to the guidelines and didn't interview him 16 or 17 times."

He said the prosecution case suggested a "hint of prejudice against addicts".

He added: "The prosecution is suggesting that these drug addicts have the organisational abilities to clear up damning forensic evidence, disposing of clothes, magic wands used by witches and wizards."

But he said the allegations had spiralled from the initial disclosures about witchcraft.

Mr McSporran said a concerned adult who was subject to the initial disclosures used "a leading question of the kind which is not allowed in court".

He added: "The accused are paying a heavy price for assumptions."

An allegation the 11 accused used a Ouija board or similar object to "call on spirits and demons" causing the child victims to "believe that they could see, hear and communicate with spirits and demons" and making them take part in "witchcraft" has been dropped.

The trial, before Lord Beckett, continues.