"Cult turned my girl against me"

Manchester Evening News (UK)/January 1997
By Jill Burdett

A law student claims his ex-girlfriend was pressured into testifying against him by a controversial Christian cult. The accusations by Ian Laing came after an assault case against him was dismissed by magistrates in Manchester.

And he said: "I am convinced this while thing was set up by the cult to discredit me. I am actively working to expose them and they want to scare me. It won't work. And they cannot con the courts."

He was found not guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend Frances Lutterodt as he tried to make her watch a TV documentary about the Manchester Christian Church. The church has been banned from meeting in four different Manchester venues and now meets at Nynex.

Mr Laing says Frances changed after becoming involved with the church, a cult which targets students and has been accused of cutting followers off from their families.

Mr Laing, from Longsight, who is now studying law at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "I suppose Frances was an ideal victim. He family are in London and she had very few friends here and is very naive. She changed as soon as she started going to meetings. She was given a 'discipler' who acted as a minder to her and constantly filled her head with nonsense and told her what to do. I went along to some meetings but was not impressed and when people were pledging to give donations of 250 pounds even though most were students I became seriously worried."

He says he met with cult leader Malcolm Cox but remained unconvinced and his relationship with Frances cooled.

Cox strongly denied that the group had pressured Frances, who now lives in London, into bringing the assault charge. "She initiated the case before we knew about it," he said at his home in West Didsbury.

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