A Czech mother who tortured her son in a locked cellar while relatives skinned him and forced him to eat his own flesh has been jailed for nine years. Her sister got ten years in jail. They belonged to a cannibal cult.
Actually two sons of 31-year-old Klara Mauerova, Jakub (10) and Ondrej (8), underwent inhuman ordeal at the hands of the cult members, though only Ondrej was made to eat his own flesh, it transpires.
According to testimonies at the Brno Municipal Court, the abuse - allegedly carried out to varying degrees by all six defendants - involved keeping the boys in dog kennels, while they were made to recite obscene texts, and to cut and burn each other with cigarettes. At times, the boys were allegedly made to lay in shallow graves. At one point, flesh was cut from Ondrej's buttocks and he was forced-fed with the pieces.
Jakub and Ondrej told judges how their mother, her sister Katerina, 35, and other relatives used to whip them with belts and tried to drown them.
The terrified youngsters said they were kept in cages or handcuffed to tables and made to stand in their own urine for days.
The sick abuse was discovered when a neighbour installed a TV baby monitor to keep watch on his new daughter.
But it picked up the signal from an identical monitor next door showing one of the victims beaten, naked and chained in a cellar.
Mauerova had installed it so she could gloat over her victims' suffering from the comfort of her kitchen.
Jakub and Ondrej's abuse is believed to have been organized by a Brno splinter sect of a religious following called the Grail Movement. The sect had been cut off by Grail Movement officials. But its local leader, Josef Skrla, continued to command his own following.
The Grail Movement follows the teachings of Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, a German also known as Abd-ru-shin who, from 1923-38, wrote the Grail Message, which depicts man as a being whose spirit can return to its source in heaven by performing good deeds on Earth. It claims to have at least 10,000 followers worldwide, including several hundred in Britain.
"We broke with the people involved in this 11 years ago, after they added to the Grail Message with their own imaginings and fantasies," said Artur Zaplukal, spokesman of the Grail Movement in the Czech Republic, where it has about 1,500 followers. "I sent them a letter telling them they were no longer part of the Grail Movement."
The Christian understands that the flesh and blood of Christ consumed at the mass are not literal bits of flesh and blood, but are transmogrified by Christ to contain the essence of him which he passes on to his followers. However the weak willed and the deviant will often be attracted to the cannibalistic and vampiric undertones of Christian mythology. And such persons may pervert the Christian symbolism into a sinister ritual, it is argued.
The Grail myth is inextricably linked to blood and death, and, for unstable people, this might be the foundation for a modern cannibal cult.
Judge Pavel Goth said as he sentenced the women: 'Their aim was to create a person with a completely broken will. Ondrej and Jakub were repeatedly psychologically and physically tyrannised and held in locked rooms.'
Another defendant, 34-year-old Barbora Skrlova, was also jailed for five years for her part in the torture. Three others who took part in the abuse were also given jail terms.
Hana Basova, 28, and Jan Skrla, 25, were sentenced to seven years each while another man, Jan Turek, was jailed for five years.
The defendants are expected to launch an appeal.