A hypnotherapist who forced young girls to strip during “spiritual” massage sessions at his Birmingham home has been convicted of a string of sex offences.
Peter Knight, who claimed to be healing his victims, was told there was “every chance” he will be jailed when he is sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court next month.
A jury took just under seven hours to convict Knight of 16 charges of indecent assault and three counts of indecency with a child following a two-week trial.
He was acquitted of one charge of indecent assault. The jury were unable to reach verdicts on two charges of procuring a woman to have sex with Knight.
The 75-year-old, of Selsey Road, Edgbaston, committed the offences against young women and girls over a 10-year period from the late 1980s to the late 1990s after billing himself as a healer who specialised in positive thinking.
One woman told the trial she was groped by Knight in a candle-lit treatment room aged just 11 after he told her it would help her to “move forward” with her life.
Knight, who also offered tarot card reading, was granted conditional bail pending the preparation of probation reports.
Adjourning the case, Judge William Davis QC told Knight: “This is a case in which there is every chance that you will be going to prison, whatever the outcome of the reports.”
Prosecuting John Attwood said Knight had operated from two addresses, Lansdowne Road, Erdington, and Selsey Road, Edgbaston, and that he had taken advantage of the power he had over the people who came to see him in order to indulge in his own sexual desires.
He said although it was accepted that he had helped people there was also a “darker side” to him.
He said the abuse took place during the 1980s and 1990s and that the victims were girls or young women who were often vulnerable or needy in one way or another and who came to trust him.
Two of his victims, he said, were sisters who were given hypnotherapy sessions.
As part of their “treatment” they were persuaded to also have naked massage sessions which Knight claimed were for their spiritual wellbeing and during which he sexually assaulted them.
Mr Attwood said Knight also got one of them to come over to him as he sat at his desk, straddle him and kiss him passionately.
Another young girl, who Knight abused, was told the eczema she suffered from would return if she told anyone else what was going on.
Knight denied having any sexual interest in young girls and said he just wanted to help people.