Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Long, long ago, in a leafy Sussex village, not far from where Piltdown Man was discovered to be a hoax, there came a man who had fallen on hard times. It might be truer to say that he had been pushed onto hard times by due process as practised under our rule of law. He had just left Hull prison after serving time for rape.
He came upon a ‘man of the cloth’. Men of the cloth are special people. One trick ponies, you might say. Their home, their work, their entire life, is bound up in one simple job – helping their flock to stay free of evil, whether by muttering strange incantations, or collecting money, or making profound statements from their pulpit – it all rests on one straightforward precept: that they possess the particular skills required to wrestle with evil in the form of the Devil, Satan, Beelzebub, call him what you will.
No Satan: no job, no house, no lifetime’s work. Being a man of the cloth and not believing that Satan exists in many forms would be like, well, like being a journalist and not believing that the world should know of every politician’s unwise sex-text. Like cutting your own throat, really.
So, our modern day man-by-the-roadside, on spying the man of the cloth approaching, turned himself into that very thing that the good vicar was most predisposed to believe in – a disciple of Satan. ‘Help me’, he cried, ‘for I am in the Devil’s grip’.
What do you think happened next, children? Yes, of course the good Vicar helped him; took him home into the bosom of his sanctuary. Gave him bed and board, and inquired ‘Pray tell me Sir, what else I can do for you?’
‘Well, Mate, you can pay off me bleedin’ debts’ replied our old lag, before remembering his new persona and continuing, ‘I mean to say, good Sir, you can assist me in my relentless struggle to escape the clutches of the Devil – £24,925 would do for starters…whoops!…I mean to purchase some of the Devil’s regalia, and rob him of his power’.
The man of cloth ventured out into the leafy lanes whence dwelled some of the wealthiest in the land, these being very, very, leafy lanes. He chanced upon Susan, the wife of Mr Timothy Sainsbury, Conservative MP of Hove, and a millionaire member of the supermarket family. Then Lord Hampden, Lord and Lady Brentford and Lord March, all a ‘leapin’ down the lanes. Verily did they donate to the cause; here a £79,895, there a £39,250, here a £36,000, there a £25,000 – in time a veritable £300,000 had been raised to fight the good fight.
Meanwhile, the old lag, Derry his name was, rolled on the vicarage floor, babbling exotic phrases and speaking in tongues; occasionally returning to the vicarage with strange golden objects* of supposedly Satanic regalia to justify these huge wads of used £50s being peeled off the good vicar’s congregation.
‘Derry’ claimed to have two plutonium plates inserted in his head by the satanic cult members, and when they rubbed together, he had to absent himself from the congregation’s presence to protect them from the evil he exuded – at such times, he consoled himself with the presence of Angela Murdoch [Murdoch, Murdoch, devils apprentice for sure!] Samantha Sprackling and Julie Tremain, a prostitute.
The Bishop of Chichester, by this time, was becoming alarmed at the large potential donations to the church being diverted to pay off the Devil. He called in the Police. Derry was arrested, and questioned for two days about the payments. When released on bail, he told the Vicar of Newick that he now required £37,000 to buy a Rolls-Royce, as you do when you are engaged in the Devil’s work – these days it would probably be a Bentley Continental, but 1986 were less sophisticated times.
Amazingly the faithful came up with the readies. And the readies to host a glittering party on a Thames barge, to which they weren’t invited, on account of it being attended by the
Devils’ disciples numerous BBC disc jockeys [No, not him, by all accounts…] but Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman and David Hamilton…and a host of willing call girls.
When Derry’s case came to court, several of his ‘donors’ were unwilling to give evidence, still convinced of his ‘possession by the Devil’.
Eventually, Derry Mainwaring Knight was jailed for seven years on April 25 1986, after a two-month trial at Maidstone Crown Court in Britain. He was convicted of 19 charges of fraud. The media at the time had a field day, pillorying the Lords and Ladies, many of them ‘Tory VIPs’ who had fallen for the scam and parted with hundreds of thousands of pounds to finance the high life of Derry and his criminal friends.
Inspector Terence Fallon testified that Knight said: “Every time I told him about a debt, he got money. We talked about witchcraft and satanism because he was interested in that sort of thing. It got out of hand. I tried to back out, but he just would not let me. He and his group had this fixation about destroying the devil organization, and no matter what you said, they just did not listen. Every time I saw him, he kept giving me brown paper parcels of money.”
There are newspaper cuttings galore available on this magical saga, amongst them one in particular by Paul Vallely in The Times pointing out that amongst Derry’s more fanciful claims was that Willie Whitelaw, Deputy Prime Minister at the time, was head of this Satanic cult that also contained such luminaries [or is that illuminati?] as Enoch Powell and Leo Abse…
So I was a little surprised to open my Sunday Times to find them claiming that Scotland Yard were investigating claims that Leo Abse was being posthumously investigated for his part in a Satanic vice ring, and then in the Daily Mail:
Enoch Powell is named by bishop in sex abuse probe: Scotland Yard to investigate satanic abuse claim.
The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, contacted police after Powell’s name was passed to him by a former Bishop of Monmouth, Dominic Walker, who first heard the allegation when he was a vicar counselling young adults in the 1980s.
You would think that at least one of them would have looked back through their cutting libraries to see where these claims first originated? Or even that Dominic Walker was the Vicar of Brighton, all of 16 miles away, in 1986 when Derry Mainwaring Knight was defrauding the local congregation of their lolly based on this fanciful tale.
Still, its an ill wind: Derry Mainwaring Knight started his blog up again three months ago, and will probably be glad of the renewed interest….Clive Barker has a new book out about Derry Mainwaring Knight and his own connection to the Evangelical group that swallowed all this nonsense wholesale, and Derry the Convicted Rapist’s original claim of a tussle with the Devil over the souls of sinners to finance his life of lechery and licentiousness has morphed into:
Enoch Powell, the Conservative anti-immigrant firebrand, is being investigated as an alleged member of a claimed Westminster paedophile network after his name was supplied to police by a senior Anglican bishop.
Truly amazing. Sleep tight children, no need to worry, these nasty men are all dead – only reputations being trashed.
*The local village jeweller was later heard to complain that he had not been paid for the manufacture of said golden objects….