This Punk Rock Witch Was Into Sex, Devil Worship & Serial Murder

After removing a quartet of corpses from Kathleen McCluskey’s apartment over two years, authorities finally suspected something more amiss about her than mere occult trappings and a taste for leather and all-black fashion.

October 29, 2018
Kathleen McCluskey [Cambridge Police]

Kathleen McCluskey [Cambridge Police]

Kathleen McCluskey [Cambridge Police]

By: Mike McPadden

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND — Between 1999 and 2001, Kathleen McCluskey — a self-styled “witch” brazenly devoted to kinky sex and devil worship — watched as four separate men fatally overdosed inside her apartment.

In the course of McCluskey’s fatal run, one additional man fell prey to her strange enchantments, but managed to make it out alive.

That survivor went on to testify about how his goth hostess concocted and served him a toxic brew that knocked him out cold. Upon coming to, he said McCluskey and her husband, James Baxter, were engaging in intercourse right next to him.

Born in 1960, Kathleen McCluskey fled her family’s Yorkshire home at 16 during England’s peak punk rock era. She first fell in with the fast crowds of Brighton and London before settling in Cambridge.

Along the way, McCluskey took up witchcraft, honed a taste for exotic sex, and succumbed to a wicked drug addiction that would define much of her life. She also, as a prosecutor later put it, developed “an ambivalent attitude toward men.”

As with many college towns, an underworld of drug and alcohol abuse lurks just beneath Cambridge’s spritely veneer. McCluskey trawled such dark places for both intoxicants and other drunks and junkies with whom to use them ... sometimes fatally.

After inviting a potential target back home, McCluskey would ask him to rub a scary statue just inside her doorway. The figure was said to be Baphomet, the “Satanic Goat of Mendes,” an occult lust god that McCluskey reportedly served as part of her black magic creed. From there, the party could really get started.

Baphomet illustration by Eliphas Lévi [public domain/Wikimedia Commons]

Baphomet illustration by Eliphas Lévi [public domain/Wikimedia Commons]

Baphomet illustration by Eliphas Lévi [public domain/Wikimedia Commons]

While the victim got loaded and pondered the possibilities of sex with an apparent sorceress, McCluskey mixed up boozy cocktails spiked with lethal amounts of methadone or heroin. Then came go time.

McCluskey’s slayings commenced in August 1999 and carried on until September 2001. Along the way her victims included:

• Mohammed Shoja-Assadi, 48: A chronic alcoholic who went by the name Martin, McCluskey met Assadi through an addicts counseling service. She lured him home with a promise of group sex. The next morning, a neighbor said he heard a female voice repeating, “Wake up! Wake up!”

• Marvin Brodie, 32: While working as a home care assistant, the heavy-drinking Brodie also became a popular figure in Cambridge’s bar scene. McCluskey met him through a friend and reportedly said, “I don’t want to go to prison; I’ll kill you like I killed the rest.” The next morning, after paramedics removed Brodie’s body from McCluskey’s apartment, responder found a notepad on which Kathleen had scrawled, “Methadone … Ambulance … Adultery.”

• Ray Diaz, 48: As a fellow intravenous drug user, Diaz dropped by McCluskey’s home after scoring heroin because he knew she’d have needles. Later that night, McCluskey called emergency services to report that Diaz had collapsed. He died on the spot from a combined overdose of alcohol and heroin.

• James McCluskey, 44: Just four months after the still-suspicious suicide of her first husband, who she married in 2001, Kathleen married James McCluskey. A mere six months after that happy occasion, James, too, expired by overdosing on methadone.

After removing a quartet of corpses from Kathleen McCluskey’s apartment over two years, authorities finally suspected something more amiss about her than mere occult trappings and a taste for leather and all-black fashion.

The Cambridge Police finally netted McCluskey by way of a sting called “Operation Falstaff” in 2002. Prosecutors then charged her with four counts of manslaughter, as well as “administering a noxious substance” to Peter Bakulinskjy, 38.

Bakulinskjy, deemed during the trial to be “the one that got away,” took the stand against McCluskey with shocking impact.

He said he knew her from their shared methadone service, where she’d show up in fetish garments and come on to him in no uncertain terms, even once announcing at the clinic, “You know I want to sleep with you!”

Later on, Bakulinsky recalled McCluskey’s long-term campaign of seduction, saying:

"She once greeted me dressed like a schoolgirl. She phoned 30 times a day, describing disgusting sex acts. She talked in detail about having lesbian sex. She and James also went to a transvestites' club and bragged about sex with people they met through contact mags. Once she was wearing a see-through nightie and literally jumped on me. She could not believe I had not fallen under her evil spell."

Eventually, however, all that effort worked … to a degree.

On Christmas Day, 1999, Bakulinskjy finally warmed to the prospect of stocking stuffing with McCluskey. He dropped by her home, rubbed the devil statue as instructed, and noticed that multiple photographs adorned the walls of McCluskey having sex with Mohammad Shoja-Assadi, her first victim.

Once settled in for the holiday festivities, McCluskey sent her then-husband James Baxter to fetch drinks from the kitchen. Next, Bakulinskjy recalled:

"[Baxter] brought this tumbler of strange blue liquid but they didn't say what it was. I don't normally drink but I thought, ‘It's Christmas, down the hatch.’ That's the last I remember. I woke up seven hours later. I'd just been left there.

When I looked around I found Kathleen having sex games in the bedroom with James. What happened to me was their sexual turn-on. I was supposed to be victim number two, their Christmas present to each other. I later found she really believed all this witch stuff and kept all sorts of drugs, pills and potions."

Bakulinskjy ultimately concluded: “She was cold, cunning and very dangerous. I'm so lucky to have escaped."

In March 2003, the court cleared McCluskey in the deaths of Diaz and her husband, as well as for forcing methadone on Bakulinskjy. She got 10 years, however, after being found guilty of manslaughter in the cases of Shoja-Assadi and Brodie.

At her sentencing, the judge told McCluskey: “You have had a sad life. I bear in mind the effect that drugs have had on you. Nevertheless, although you have a borderline personality disorder, I have to take into account that you have shown little compassion or remorse for the deaths of these two men.”

Upon being led away by female guards, McCluskey struggled, kicked, shrieked obscenities, and called them, “F---ing b—ches!” To her very final moments of freedom, Kathleen McCluskey remained a punk witch.

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