Spiritualist Medium and Reiki Healer Michael Ireland has appeared at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester today (March 5th) for sentencing after he was found guilty of a number of sexual offences on seven women and two girls.
Ireland was a frequent visitor to Crewe during the last few years.
Michael Ireland, 60, of Bosden Fold, Stockport, was originally charged with 32 offences including rape, sexual activity with two girls under the age of 16 and sexual assault at Stockport Magistrates Court back in April 2011 but these were reduced to 25 offences.
The charges relate to the alleged abuse of 6 women aged 18 and 40 and one girl between January and September 2010.
Another girls complaints date back to 1985.
Known locally as Mike, he worked as a medium and spiritual healer for over 40 years and claims to be a natural clairvoyant medium.
He was a regular guest medium at Crewe Spiritualist Church on Adelaide Street and at the Congleton spiritualist Church.
He has worked at spiritualist churches and community centres all over England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of man.
He had also visited private homes in Crewe and Nantwich over the last couple of years working with people who were at their most vulnerable.
Ireland sometimes practised his healing at a spiritual shop that was situated in Crewe town centre a few years ago that was ran by a mother and daughter team but the shop has since relocated to Northwich.
He was arrested back in 2010 and was banned from working in the community but he tried to hide himself by changing his name on Facebook while the investigations were taking place and continued to ‘treat’ people who were going through bad times in their lives.
Mike appeared in court 10 for sentencing looking gaunt and emotionally distressed wearing blue trousers and a tatty navy coloured pullover.
He had his head down looking towards the floor for the whole two and a half hour sentencing hearing.
The proceedings were halted for a few minutes during the hearing due to the distress of some of the victims families, one lady collapsed outside the doors to the courtroom when she was escorted outside by court ushers.
Judge Mushtaq Khokhar who was in charge of the proceedings described Ireland as somebody who people trusted as they would a doctor, he said Ireland used his position to satisfy his sexual appetite and put his victims and their families through emotional distress with no thought for them or their emotional well being.
The Judge Commented:
You held yourself as a healer and Reiki master and practised from both your flat and your spiritual shop where you worked.
This morning you have heard the discussions and have seen the impact that your actions have had on your victims.
You have worked with people young and old, because of your high reputation they trusted you and accepted the things you said to them because of who you were.
It was like a Doctor/Patient relationship and they put enormous trust in you and so did their relatives.
These are all serious offences and ive no doubt you knew that a substanstial custodial sentence would be imposed on you.
There is a risk that you will perpertrate these offences again, people have suffered because of your actions.
You present a danger for the foreseeable future
Ireland was then handed a sentence of 19 years.
16 of these will be in custody, the remaining three will be served on an extended licence with certain restrictions.
The restrictions are that he is to sign the Sex offenders register and he must not practice Reiki or any form of spiritualism in the community for the remainder of his life.
The Judge said that in his opinion he must do his public duty and remove Ireland from the streets as he felt that Ireland would re-offend.
The court also heard that Ireland was previously charged in 1972 for an earlier offence of indecent assault on a 14 year old girl which he received a fine for.
If you have any concerns or need support please call cheshire police on 101
The Crewe News were in the courtroom at Minshull Street for the duration of the hearing
©Rach Griffiths 2013