The jury in the trial of two men accused of child abuse spanning many years is due to begin considering its verdict today, Wednesday.

Peter Petrauske, who at the time of his arrest last December was living at The Beacon, Falmouth has denied raping one girl and three charges of assault.

Jack Kemp, of Grenville Road, Falmouth, has denied aiding and abetting attempted rape and 15 charges of assault.

During the trial murdered Budock councillor Peter Solheim, who had links to The Lizard and the coven, was accused of raping a ten-year-old girl.

One witness this week described him as being taken over by the “dark side”

Truro Crown Court heard yesterday, Tuesday, the closing speeches of defence counsel before Judge Graham Cottle summed up the case ahead of sending the jury out to consider their verdicts.

Jo Martin, counsel for Jack Kemp, began her closing speech by referring to the evidence of the three alleged victims as “harrowing,” but stressed the raw emotion of their evidence should be put to one side and the case decided on the evidence.

“You cannot allow emotions to cloud your judgement,” she said. “There has been no evidence that Kemp was in any way involved in Pagan ceremonies in the 80s and 90s.

“If you are sure the three victims were abused by Kemp you will convict him. Conversely if you feel he may have done or probably did but that you are not sure the only verdict you can return is one of not guilty,” she added.

Previously this week Dr Ronald Hutton, a professor of history who has written numerous books on the history of Paganism and Witchcraft, spoke about the religion WICCA that was part of a complex religion including Paganism.

He said children were not involved except in certain seasonal festivals.

“Nothing sexual is involved either with children or adults,” he declared.

Eleanor Watson said she became friendly with Petrauske when he attended a WICCA ceremony at her home in St Ives in the mid 1990s. “They never involved nakedness or robes and hoods, and only on very rare occasions do children attend,” she said. “I did write a Pagan play for them to perform in my garden.”

It was during her evidence that she made her reference to Peter Solheim.

Mrs Watson said she had worked with Petrauske over the years and found him to be a “Jack the Lad” who would not harm anybody.

Sue Robertson described Petrauske as “an absolute gentleman” whom she had never seen wear black or robes with hoods.

Last week a witness described being in a woodland area, where she claimed she and two other girls were told to take their clothes off by chanting men dressed in black gowns and hoods.

She also spoke of a time when she was tied to a chair and blindfolded and being afraid that she was going to die.

Asked why she was afraid, she explained: “Because they had knives, not like kitchen knives, when I was naked. They were ornamental knives, one had a red gem in the middle.”

The High Priestess ran knives up and down her body and around her neck, and she felt hot wax being poured down her stomach, she claimed.

Although never involved in intercourse, when asked to explain what had been done to her she said she felt like a rag doll that somebody was experimenting on.

“He would dance around and do horrible stuff. You would have to do what you were told. They would squeeze your neck until you could not breathe and then let you go. It was just like a game to them.”