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JESUS PEOPLE PROBE


EX-MP IN FACT-FINDING MISSION


Source : 16/10/1982 Northampton Post

A former MP who spent years investigating and infiltrating religious cults is to probe the controversial Jesus Fellowship at Bugbrooke.

Paul Rose, a London based lawyer who will fight Northampton South on an SDP/Lib Alliance ticket at the next general election, is 'very concerned' about the Fellowship's recruitment and conversion techniques.

He also want to know more about the commune's business and property dealings and the still unexplained deaths of two members a few years ago.

This week, Mr Rose called on Noel Stanton, head of the Fellowship to allow him to attend one of their meetings.

'I want to see for myself what happens at Bugbrooke' explained Mr Rose, 'I'm starting off with an open mind. It's very easy for them to prove their bona fides by permitting the public to enter.'

Mr Rose claims to have complaints from parents and relatives of members of the sect going back years.

They date from the time he was founder chairman of Family Action Information and Rescue (FAIR) - an organisation set up in 1975 to look into non-mainstream religious sects including 'The Moonies' and 'The Children of God', the so called 'Hookers for Jesus'.

Mr Rose, then Labour MP for Manchester Blackley says he received 'many letters' about the Jesus People and met around 30 concerned relatives at the House of Commons five years ago.

His enquiries about the Bugbrooke sect led him nowhere, he admits but he kept in touch with FAIR and continued to build up enormous files' and 'a vast pile of cuttings' on outlandish religious cults.

Earlier this year Mr Rose had a book, 'The Moonies Unmasked' withdrawn from sale at the last moment by nervous publishers because they feared a libel writ.

Still wary after that experience, he chose his words carefully as he added, 'Naturally, I'm very concerned at allegations about the Jesus People and in particular the two unexplained deaths and the business ramifications.'

In December 1976 Bugbrooke member Gavin Hooper, and ex-public schoolboy and law graduate, was found frozen to death in a field.

Just over a year later 19-year-old Fellowship follower Stephen Orchard was found dead on the railway line at Nether Heyford after being hit by a train.

The Fellowship's business tentacles stretch throughout the county and include the chain of Goodness Foods shops, Jeans Plus Casuals in Gold Street, Northampton and Skaino Services - a building contractors, hauliers and motor engineers - which had an estimated turnover of 425,000 in 1980.

The Jesus Fellowship declined to comment on Mr Rose's remarks. But they said they are holding an open day at Cornhill Manor on October 23 from 2pm. Mr Rose they added, was welcome to attend.