A woman allegedly abused as a child by a hypnotherapist in Birmingham was encouraged to carry on with “spiritual massages” after he showed her photos of other women he claimed had help from him.
The 21-year-old said she heard “clicks” as she lay naked on a reclining chair during a hypnotherapy session which sounded like he was taking pictures of her, the city’s Crown Court was told.
Peter Knight (75) denies 17 charges of indecent assault, three of indecency with a child and two of procuring a woman to have sex with him.
It is alleged Knight, who practised as a faith healer and hypnotherapist from addresses in Lansdown Road, Erdington, and Selsy Road, Edgbaston abused vulnerable children and young women in the 1980s and 1990s.
John Attwood, prosecuting, said he took advantage of the power he had over patients to indulge his own sexual desires, persuading one woman to have sex with him as part of her treatment.
One of his alleged victims told the court she got to know Knight through her mother who saw him for tarot card lessons and teaching of universal law.
She said she had had problems at school with bullying when she was about 11 and it was suggested she should go to Knight for hypnotherapy to improve her confidence.
The woman said she went to the Selsey Road address after school when she was wearing her school uniform.
She said she would be asked to sit on a reclining chair in Knight’s office, told to close her eyes, relax and spread her legs although she never felt she had been hypnotised.
Knight, she said, suggested he give her a spiritual massage which she agreed to and when she went to his office he told her to strip.
Asked about her attitude to Knight she said: “I looked up to him. I trusted him and thought quite highly of him.”
The woman said the defendant told her to lie on a desk, put on mood music and massaged her arms, legs and back.
She said in subsequent massages, however, Knight indecently touched her asking her if she liked it.
She said as she got older she became more shy about her body and expressed her reluctance about the massages.
“He showed me a book of people he had helped, girls he had given spiritual massages to,” she said. She said some of the girls and women were naked.
The woman said she continued to have massages and Knight’s abusive behaviour became more serious.
Her mother told the court she challenged Knight when her sister, also having hypnotherapy sessions with the defendant, complained he made her strip.
She said she had also had similar sessions with Knight describing him as “incredibly persuasive” and that at the time he was “the person I trusted more than anybody in the world”.
The trial continues.