'I was an animal' says pastor found guilty of raping multiple children

14 January 2020, 19:00

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A religious leader who raped children and forced some of his victims to have abortions was caught on camera calling himself an "animal".

Michael Oluronbi used his trusted position as an evangelical pastor to abuse his victims, including members of his congregation in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

The self-styled prophet, originally from Nigeria, was found guilty of offences against six women and a man.

He would convince the victims to take part in a "spiritual bathing" which would "cleanse" them of evil spirits.

The 60-year-old was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault, after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday.

Some of his female victims fell pregnant multiple times but were taken to abortion clinics or given drugs for a termination by Oluronbi who was a qualified pharmacist.

Oluronbi said he "wasn't meant to be human"
Oluronbi said he "wasn't meant to be human". Picture: West Midlands Police

In a confession video, recorded by one of his victim's relatives, the pastor admitted "everything was my fault" and claimed he "wasn't meant to be human."

"I wasn't meant to live under the roof of any human being and I said that I was an animal," he said.

The victim's relative is then heard, off-camera, asking the pastor: "You know I said that you are a paedophile? Everyone knows that you're a paedophile. You know that that's the name they give to your type?"

Oluronbi raises his hands but with his eyes shut simply replies: "Fine."

West Midlands Police released the footage after the trial. His crimes can now be reported in full after legal restrictions were lifted.

The "feared" pastor claimed the devil made him carry out the abuse and denied any wrongdoing in court, despite the recording.

Oluronbi's wife Juliana was aiding and abetting rape
Oluronbi's wife Juliana was aiding and abetting rape. Picture: West Midlands Police

His lack of admission forced the victims to give evidence against him during nine weeks of legal proceedings.

Oluronbi was also seen laughing in the witness box while giving his own evidence.

His 58-year-old wife was convicted of three counts of aiding and abetting rape after helping arrange some of the terminations.

He was brought to justice after one of his victims, now an adult, came forward to authorities.

The religious leader was linked to a Christian church in Edgbaston - the Cherubim and Seraphim Church - but set up a splinter group for about 40 adults and children at a separate location.

Oluronbi's offences also took place in London.

Red ceremonial robes were seized from Oluronbi's house
Red ceremonial robes were seized from Oluronbi's house. Picture: West Midlands Police

Phil Bradley QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "The main tactic he employed was to claim that God had instructed him to administer 'holy baths' to some of his congregation in order to 'cleanse' them and protect them from evil influences.

"That activity began when his victims were children. There can be no doubt that its real purpose was to serve his sexual gratification."

After the verdicts, Detective Superintendent Nick Walton, of West Midlands Police, said: "He convinced a number of children... that these can benefit them either religiously, from a health perspective, or educationally.

"They'd be taken upstairs to the bathroom, stripped naked, sometimes wearing a red girdle - like a sash - and he would wash them down.

"On occasion he would sexually assault them, but also take them to an adjacent bedroom and subject them to sexual assaults and rape."

Georgina Hewins of the Crown Prosecution Service commended the "great courage of the victims" which revealed the "full extent of the despicable and lawless behaviour of these people."

Oluronbi was arrested at Birmingham Airport in May last year while trying to leave the country for Nigeria.

Police believe there could be more victims and have urged anyone with information to get in touch.

The husband and wife will be sentenced at a later date.