Source : 18/09/1986 Daventry Weekly Express
A religious sect based in a Daventry village has blamed bitter ex-members for stories linking it to five unexplained deaths.
The Jesus Fellowship Church, of New Creation Farm, Nether Heyford, claims a Sunday newspaper investigation is full of 'falsehoods and distortions'.
And the sect - better known locally as the 'Jesus people' says the number of deaths within its community is no more than the national average.
Local MP Michael Morris is calling for the Government to hold an enquiry into the sects. He says the Jesus Fellowship worries him deeply.
Revelations about the sect were contained in a front-page story in this weeks Sunday Mirror newspaper under the headline 'Jesus Cult Deaths Probe'.
It claimed to reveal the 'ugly reality behind the public face of a sinister religious cult.'
The Jesus people are based at Nether Heyford but have properties in Bugbrooke and Badby road, Daventry, together with about 20 other towns in England.
Sunday's story claims: 'The Fellowship entices impressionable people with a vision of life in caring Christian communities.
'Life for many disciples is a regime of rigid discipline under which sex is banned. Five young people linked with the cult have died in circumstances which required inquests,' it says.
The newspaper claims that the sect's leader Noel Stanton frowns on love, outlaws Christmas and asks his followers to become slaves to his doctrine.
In a four-page investigation, the newspaper says it has been inside the Jesus Fellowship, and promises more revelations next week.
And the Weekly Express has spoken to the local woman who has been monitoring the activities of the sect for several years.
She described the weekend story as 'absolutely factually correct'.
The secretary of leader Noel Stanton is Liz Donovan who was named in the story as the only woman with any say in the movement.
She told the Weekly Express that Fellowship leaders had noted the 'sensational article'.
'This article has been inspired by bitter ex-members and contains various falsehoods and distortions.'
'Four community members have died by accident or misadventure in the past 13 years. This is no more than the national average,' she says.
'There have been no suicides, even though we help people with depressive problems. It is not true that there is to be an inquiry,' adds Miss Donavan.
'The Jesus people are acting in the interests of needy people in many parts of the land. That is their calling,' she says.
'Women are not sub-servant, and sexual relations in marriage are normal. Businesses are owned by the trust and operated in the interests of the members,' she adds.
'The church practices equality and all leaders have the same lifestyle as the rest of the members,' says Miss Donovan.