Town of the Damned; Suicide.Sacrifice.And Sheer Hell in a Community Where the Devil Is at Work

Article excerpt

The body at the foot of the cliff was bad enough. But what they found back at his flat was far, far worse.

Pages from the Bible plastered to the walls. Black crosses daubed across the doors.

And painted on the wall in 12-inch high letters the plea: "Please God. Somebody save me. Protect me from black magic."

It didn't work. Convinced he was being stalked by demons, Nic Gargani, 26, plunged 300 feet to his death off the steep cliffs overlooking the town of Lewes, Sussex.

And the shockwave from his death has lifted the lid on a serpent's pit of Satanic practices, church desecration, animal sacrifice and ritual burning.

Local clergymen and Nic's friends and relatives are united in their belief that the Devil is at work in Lewes.

His girlfriend Luisa Serrecchia, 20, said: "Nic tended to keep his worries to himself so even his closest friends never knew how bad his troubles were. That's why my last meeting with him was so terrifying. I was entertaining friends when he knocked on my door.

"He was hysterical and kept saying someone was trying to kill him.

"He said he had been sent a voodoo doll and that morning a cow's heart with nails in it had been delivered to his home.

"He never behaved like this and I knew something was terribly wrong. He kept apologising for disturbing me, yet he was so distraught.

"He never had an enemy in the world and he kept saying: 'Why me? What have I done to deserve this?''

"He said photos and property had been taken from his flat .

"And a caller said there was a curse on him and demons were after him.

"Before he died he wrote me a note saying he had been through a lot of worry and that he was having nightmares about a black apparition.

"He posted it through my door before going up to the cliff. As soon as I got it I phoned his home but the police were already there.

"The Nic I knew would never have killed himself. We had so many plans - I still can't believe that he's not here."

Nic's sister Nadia, 38, said: "Someone out there is guilty of my brother's murder. They drove him to his death by their actions and that's as bad as physically pushing him over the cliff."

At an inquest into Nic's death, coroner Veronica Hamilton- Deeley did not record a verdict of suicide. Instead she left the verdict open.

On its own, the violent end of a haunted young man could be passed off as the actions of a disturbed mind.

But try telling that to the Rev Anthony Hindley.

Last week the 54-year-old vicar held a prayer morning to help fend off attacks on St Michael's church in South Malling, just a mile from the cliffs where Nic died.

In the tranquil churchyard surrounding the 17th Century chapel, seven stone crosses have been smashed and some turned upside down - a sign of the Devil.

One grave had a trench dug around it before being set alight in a form of ritual burning.

The Rev Hindley said: "I have never known anything like this. …