The Carole Compton trial 1983
On the third day of the trial, an elderly woman dressed in black and clutching a crucifix 'shuffled into the court mumbling that she wanted to exorcise Carole and her mother'. Chiara Lobina, a visionary and faith healer, knelt in prayer in the public gallery of the courtroom.
'I want to save the Comptons', she said. 'They are innocent but they are possessed. The devil has given Carole fire'. Miss Lobina then tottered into the well of the court and continued: 'When I was asleep last night the devil came to see me in a dream. He told me to come to court because an 18th-century witch, a young girl, has possessed Carole and her mother and they do not realise it. I have only come to help her, but I must touch both of them to cleanse them of the spirit'. As she approached Carole Compton, Gordon Pirie, press attache of the British consultate in Milan, intervened, motioning to two of the armed guards in the court to escort her out.
Mrs Ancilla Cecchini, mother of the child that Compton was accused of attempting to murder, gave evidence. She claimed that the only person who could be blamed for the fire in a cot near a bed where her daughter Agnese lay sleeping was Compton. 'I took her by the arm and shook her, saying "It was you, it was you". She ran away in tears and hid in the cellar'. Mrs Cecchini said it was strange that things started to happen after Compton’s arrival. The witness denied that she had smoked in the bedroom, but later in her testimony admitted that she had warned Agnese’s grandmother about leaving cigarette ends around. The court heard that fire broke out in the grandmother’s room the day before the baffling outbreak in the baby’s room.
A former nanny of Agnese, Theresa Hunter, 22, from Larkhall in Lanarkshire, testified later in the day. She said she had lasted only 15 days with the family. 'My presence was obviously resented. I was treated like a slave. The former au pair left before me because they made her life hell'. Miss Hunter said that the fires could have been caused by short circuits, adding that the electric wiring in the house was always overloaded.
The trial continues tomorrow