EXCLUSIVE I agreed to meet an ex-cult member. Just days later, he was found dead with his throat cut from ear to ear: Brave anti-cultist shares shocking stories about the thousands he saved from a life of hell – amid fears there are 2,000 cults in Britain today

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Placing my coffee mug down on the desk in my small office, I steadied myself before answering the phone. Lifting the receiver, I listened to a university student whose voice was trembling with anxiety, his breaths coming quick and shallow. He was convinced something terrible was about to happen to him.

By the late 1980s, I had heard this kind of story with depressing regularity after setting up a hotline for people who had found themselves in a cult and wanted out.

The young man, aged 19, was trying to leave a high-control cult which had a reputation for severe punishment for deserters.

‘It’s normal to feel fear,’ I said. ‘It’s what they have instilled in you to keep you in. It sounds like you are already out psychologically — you’ve just got to get out physically.’

Still, his voice trembled. I explained the only reason to be afraid was if he knew something he shouldn’t — cults fear ex-members talking to the police as law-breaking is common practice.

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