Satanic sex abuse claims 'demonstrably not true', nurse's family tells inquest
A NURSE died in mysterious circumstances after claiming she had been sexually abused by a Satanic cult, an inquest in England has heard.
Carol Myers, 41, claimed her family were Satanists who abused her and that her mother murdered her sister and then set fire to the house to hide the evidence.
But a police investigation found the disturbing allegations were unsubstantiated and her family believe they were false memories dreamt up during controversial recovered memory therapy sessions.
The brother of Carol Myers, who was born Carol Felstead but changed her name, said the claims were a "myth".
Kevin Felstead told Westminster Coroner's Court, which was sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, that her family "fiercely" contest the allegations.
Addressing the court, Mr Felstead said: "I just want to ask that the court acknowledges that Carol developed false memories.
"She had treatment and memories that were false and demonstrably not true."
Coroner Fiona Wilcox said she could not rule that Ms Myers suffered from false memories, but acknowledged that the "extreme allegations that were made of satanic sexual abuse and murder were investigated and found to be absolutely unsubstantiated".
She added: "I wish to be clear that the family absolutely protest claims that Carol was abused sexually, and that the allegations of Satanic sexual abuse and murder that she made in life were investigated by police and found to be unsubstantiated."
Ms Myers was found by police dead and next to tablets on her bed in her flat in Wandsworth, south London, on June 29 2005.
She had suffered from "post-traumatic stress-style" flashbacks and had been receiving counselling since 1985, when she contacted the Samaritans, the court heard.
Over the course of the next two decades she made disturbing allegations accusing her family of abuse.
But her family blame her memories on her counselling sessions, claiming that she went to the doctor with a headache and that set in motion a chain of events that led to the extreme allegations.
Mr Felstead said that by not ruling that these memories were false the court left "a lingering doubt, a lingering suspicion that these things are true, and our position is that they are categorically not".
"There was a 15 month investigation and it concluded that she was not abused, she was not sexually assaulted. It was a myth," he said.
"Carol went to the doctor with a persistent headache.
"There was nothing wrong with with Carol before she had therapy.
"All of her problems came from her having therapy."
In a statement, Ms Myers' brother David told how she became more distant in the mid-1980s and left home in 1985.
Over the subsequent years she maintained only "sporadic" contact with her family, he said.
Just weeks before her death in June 2005 she contacted her brother Richard out of the blue and said she was lonely and talked of moving back to Stockport to be near her family, who she promised to visit the following week.
But she never did. Richard wrote his sister a letter on June 29, the same day she was found dead.
Police were called to Ms Myers's home by Fleur Fisher, a therapist and friend who said she called 999 while on a train after not being able to get hold of her for three days.
She told police Ms Myers may have overdosed and she was likely to be in her bedroom.
Asked why she said this, Dr Fisher said she was worried because she could not contact her and "I knew she had often had to struggle against suicidal feelings".
She first met Ms Myers in 1985 when the nurse was referred to her for counselling by the Samaritans.
Over the years they became friends and Ms Myers was "like a member of the extended family", she explained.
She said Ms Myers struggled with her mental health over many years. She took an overdose in 1992, had self-harmed and had "flashbacks from some kind of earlier experience".
Ms Fisher told the court: "She had been particularly disturbed by post-traumatic stress-type flashbacks.
"She emerged from one having cut herself but not remembering actually doing it.
"This was very distressing."
Ms Myers suffered from a number of health problems including urological issues and doctors believed she had an emotionally unstable personality disorder.
The coroner reached an open conclusion. She said Ms Myers could have taken an accidental overdose of morphine or could have died from natural causes because of the many medical problems she suffered from.
Dr Wilcox said: "I'm entirely satisfied there is nothing suspicious in Carol's death, there is no evidence of third party involvement."
She said there is "simply no sufficient evidence for the cause of Carol's death".
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Felstead said his sister had been given therapy "that would shame a medieval quack and she ended up in a horrific condition".
He placed the blame for her disturbing accusations of abuse with the therapists who counselled her.
He said: "She was regressed and hypnotised. She came to believe that her family were the leaders of a Satanic cult responsible for mass murder.
"It included members of parliament, including two former members of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet. My mother was said to have murdered a baby and burnt the house down to hide it.
"Once Carol injured her shoulder by falling down some stairs. But recorded in the psychotherapist's notes was that the injury was the result of being suspended in chains from Satanic ritual abuse."
He said there was always a perfectly normal explanation, but claimed that his sister's wild claims went unchallenged by her therapists.
And while the Felstead family may never know the exact cause of Ms Myers' death, they hope her case will be a warning to other families enduring similar accusations, and that lessons are learnt.