Forced to have sex with a dog, eat his own testicle and have his teeth taken out with a hammer and chisel: the dad tortured and killed by UK cult

But it was too late: after being subjected to horrific abuse – including being forced to eat one of his own testicles, having his teeth knocked out with tools and having sex with a dog – dad-of-two Jimmy was killed, his beaten body thrown into a bush.

But this wasn't a random, cold-blooded murder.

Jimmy, 45, was killed by vengeful North Shields cult leader Zahid Zaman, who had recruited Jimmy into his sadistic cult months earlier.

Often, cults prey on those who are vulnerable – so Jimmy was an easy target after splitting with his partner and falling into a life of petty crime and homelessness.

After befriending Jimmy, Zaman and his associates took pleasure in terrorising him both mentally and physically – before brutally killing him and leaving his body to rot in a ditch.

Shockingly, Jimmy's not the only one.

Experts believe that there are at least 1,000 cults operating under the radar throughout Britain. Their size and methods vary, but many use cruelty and violence to terrorise their victims.

A new documentary, Cults, Taboos and Twisted Faith UK, explores these groups, bringing together cult survivors and their family members to talk about the trauma of indoctrination and the impact this has had on their lives.

A cult leader who prayed on the vulnerable

On the surface, wheelchair-bound Zahid Zaman was a harmless pillar of the community.

He was a regular at charity events with local politicians and he once even refused a reward for returning a lost dog to its owner.

But behind closed doors he was a twisted cult leader, who gathered and manipulated vulnerable people who he could control.

In what was dubbed the North Shields Death Cult by the local press, Zaman coerced and dominated three women: Ann Corbett, Myra Wood and Kay Rayworth, moving them into his home, before turning his attention to Jimmy.

After becoming homeless, Jimmy met cult leader Zaman at a soup kitchen – the place Zaman went to scope out vulnerable targets.

Jimmy, desperate for a roof over his head, soon moved into Zaman's home, where he became a "lackey", or servant – and that's when the sickening abuse started.

In the documentary, his former partner Mandy tells how she bumped into her ex in December 2015 but was shocked by his appearance.

"The old Jimmy was clean and tidy – but he was scruffy," says Mandy, adding that he was with a couple of women who quickly dragged him away. It was the last time Mandy would see him alive.

Forced to have sex with a dog and badly beaten

Four months later in March 2016, police came to Mandy's door to tell her that Jimmy's body had been found discarded in a patch of undergrowth.

His corpse was partly decomposed and eaten by animals, and police believed he'd been dead for almost two months.

Detectives on the case soon uncovered the extent of abuse Jimmy had received.

Under Zaman's orders he'd been forced to have sex with a dog and chop off and eat his own testicle. Zaman had also knocked Jimmy’s teeth out with a mallet as "punishment" after accusing him of stealing his tools.

A few weeks before his death, Jimmy had shared shocking photos on Facebook showing his damaged teeth as well as bruises on his face and body.

However, he'd not explained where the wounds had come from and, despite being taken to hospital by one of the cultists in the weeks before his death, nobody suspected he was being abused.

In June last year Zaman and Corbett were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Rayworth and Wood were found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult and sentenced to 12 years and four months and nine years respectively.

Sexually abused from the age of four

The documentary also hears from those who've managed to escape from cults, such as Natacha.

She was born into the notorious Children of God sect, after her parents both joined at the age of 17 and met each other through the cult.

The group, which had branches around the world including the UK and had 10,000 members, was founded by David Berg, a former Evangelist preacher.

Followers believed they should abandon all personal belongings and dedicate themselves to Christ, living in homes Natacha describes as being like "military camps".

"We were divided by age group," she recalls.

"We were trained mentally and spiritually to be Christ's 'final army' and even told we'd have superpowers such as shooting lightning bolts from our eyes."

Things escalated when Berg brought out his doctrine The Law of Love, which claimed it was acceptable for children to be sexually active from the age of 12. This allegedly led to a wave of child abuse among cultists.

Flirty fishing and religious prostitution

Natacha alleges that she was abused on a regular basis by a man who was supposed to be looking after her from the age of four, but she didn't speak up about it as there was a "culture of protecting abusers within the cult".

Berg, who also called himself Moses David, also encouraged his followers to do "flirty fishing": where women use their bodies to encourage people to join the church.

Women were also allegedly forced into sleeping with men for money that was given to the cult, something Natacha describes as "religious prostitution".

In 1978 the Children of God was abolished, and several former members such as Natacha have since come out to talk about the allegations of sexual abuse they received at hands of elders.

Natacha escaped as a young adult, but says the day she left was "bittersweet".

"I left my much younger siblings behind, and wasn't sure they were safe," she says. "But I finally had freedom, a chance to think for myself and do what I wanted to do”.

Adapting to life in the outside world

Many cult survivors struggle to adapt once back in the outside world – and experts say most people will never truly get over the experience.

For years, Natacha was unable to integrate with other people, saying she didn't even know what her personality was or which thoughts were truly her own.

This is something another victim, Mark, agrees with.

When he was 18, he started attending meditation classes with Dennis Lingwood – also knowns s Sangharakshita – of the Western Buddhist Order.

However, Mark alleges that Lingwood used him for sexual gratification, masturbating on him and allegedly forcing the young man to perform sex acts on him.

Under Dennis's spell, Mark didn't leave until a decade later, but says what happened "affected my life a great deal".

"I don't have a family or a job," he adds, and has since dedicated his life to warning people about the dangers of cults.

Several groups, such as The Cult Information Centre, help to educate people about the dangers of cults and advise those who've escaped from them.

However, for victims such as Jimmy, it's often too late.

Cults, Taboos and Twisted Faith UK is on tonight at 9pm on Crime and Investigation. 

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