Update: Atwell served just 4 years – Now living near Bristol. Still an active Jehovah Witness

March 1997

Jehovah Witness guilty of abusing his own children

Jehovah Witness and ministerial servant Dennis Atwell (58) was convicted of child abuse at Bristol Crown Court on 21st March 1997 and has now been jailed for 8 years.

Father of six, Atwell, married for 37 years, was a respected member of the congregation of JW in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.

Atwell admitted 12 of indecent assault, indecency with a child, buggery and incest towards his own children. The repeated abuse took place between 1966 and 1982.

Four of Atwells six children were abused.

Atwell threatened the children with violence to keep their silence. Because of that, none of the children involved knew of the others abuse.

Awaiting trial, Atwell was relocated by the JW watchtower to the nearby seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare where he attended meetings at Kingdom Hall and mingled freely with other members and their children.

Atwell continued to be active within the JW and was assigned various ‘locations’ where he could carry out his ‘full time ministry’ which involved knocking on the doors of houses of the public and selling literature from religious pamphlets.

The victims who found the courage to speak out against their father – Dennis Atwell – feel that they have been emotionally abused by the JW Watchtower because they were not believed.