The final episode in the horrific Fryent Country Park murders case was concluded this week when two police officers who took photographs of two murdered sisters and shared them on two WhatsApp groups were jailed for misconduct in a public office.
by Chris Summers 6 December 2021
In June 2020 social worker Bibaa Henry was celebrating her 46th birthday with her younger sister Nicole Smallman in the park in north-west London when they were ambushed and stabbed to death by teenager Danyal Hussein.
If it had not been for the first COVID-19 lockdown the pair would probably have been celebrating in a pub or nightclub but instead they were in the park and by chance found themselves at the mercy of Hussein.
On 6 December 2021 former police constables Jamie Lewis (pictured below, right) and Deniz Jaffer (left) were jailed for two years and nine months each after what Mina Smallman – the mother of the murdered women – described as a “betrayal of catastrophic proportions.”
But the motive for the killings was one of the strangest and most bizarre ever heard at the Old Bailey.
Hussein had done a deal with a demon.
Police found a contract, signed in his own blood, in which he promised: “For the Mighty King Lucifugé Rofocale: Perform a minimum of six sacrifices every six months for as long as I am free and physically capable.”
In return Lucifugé Rofocale, a demon sometimes referred to as the “Devil’s prime minister” would not only protect him from the police but also grant him untold riches through a lottery win.
To believe in demons, or Lucifer, is often nowadays assumed to be a sign of mental illness but in 2013 a poll by Yougov found 18% of British people and 57% of Americans believed in the Devil.
When Mrs Justice Whipple sentenced Hussein in October this year she said of his contract with a demon: “Bizarre though that may be as a belief system…it is not in itself proof he is mad…it’s just the way he thinks.”
Hussein refused to engage with a psychiatrist, Dr Ian Cumming, but the court heard there was no evidence he was mentally ill, although he did have autistic spectrum disorder.
Dr Jan Machielsen, a professor in early modern history and expert on the occult, said the Church of England and some other Christian denominations play down the influence of the Devil far more than they did in the past.
But he said: “Pope Francis speaks quite often of the Devil but because the media presents him as this great liberal, him speaking about the Devil doesn’t make much sense so it gets edited out of the conversation. But for him the Devil serves the same purpose as the Devil has always served. He is the deceiver…he is there to lead people astray and you could argue that the Catholic Church, beset by things like the child sex scandal, needs the Devil more than ever.”
Murder cases involving the Devil, demons or the supernatural are extremely rare in Britain and indeed in the United States.
Earlier this year Shahbaz Khan – on trial for murdering a Lancashire doctor and her 14-year-old daughter – blamed the killings on an ancient and malevolent spirit or “djinn” which he claimed lived in their house and then possessed him. He was jailed for life in October 2021.
But in the 1980s and early 1990s people were eager to believe worship of Satan and cavorting with demons was widespread and the reason for many horrible crimes.
The US, and to a lesser degree Britain, was struck by a “Satanic panic” – more than 12,000 unsubstantiated cases of sexual or ritual sadistic abuse were reported in which the victims had reportedly been targeted by Devil-worshippers.
Thousands of children were taken away from their parents, who were often jailed because of the erroneous reports, often fuelled by the discredited theories of Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder.
Then, in 1994, three teenagers were convicted in Arkansas of murdering three young boys as part of a Satanic ritual.
Jason Baldwin, 16, Jessie Misskelley, 17, and Damien Echols, 18, became known as the West Memphis Three and their case became an infamous miscarriage of justice.
It later emerged detectives had targeted Echols in particular because he loved heavy metal music – which included songs with lyrics about the Devil – and was a pagan.
In the US tropes of the Satanic panic live on in the QAnon conspiracy theory, but law enforcement has largely rejected the idea there are Devil-worshipping cults out there abusing children.
Fast forward to 2003 when a young Scotsman, Allan Menzies (pictured above), was jailed for life for the murder of his friend, Thomas McKendrick, who he stabbed 42 times.
Menzies, 23, had then drunk some of McKendrick’s blood and ate part of his brain.
Menzies told the court he had been promised immortality by a blood-sucking demon called Akasha and said: “I knew I would have to murder somebody anyway, so … if you did not murder somebody you could not become a vampire.”
But Akasha was a character – played by the singer Aaliyah – in a Hollywood film called Queen of the Damned, which Menzies had watched more than 100 times.
Hussein is believed to have been influenced by the internet, rather than Hollywood.
Dr Machielsen said the murder of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman was a “gruesome and terrible case” but he said he suspected Hussein heard about Lucifugé Rofocale on the internet.
He said: “In the secular age you have little shards of knowledge about individual demons having their own little wikipedia pages. I don’t think someone like Danyal Hussein would have any conception about how the role of Lucifugé Rofocale fits together within…Christian theology.”
Nowadays it would appear the greatest danger to us all is not Satanic cults but the internet.