Aussie Bachelor star Keira Maguire reveals Kiwi father was cult leader jailed for sexual abuse

Keira Maguire, inset, was a member of her father Alistah Laishkochav's cult until the age of 5. Photo / Supplied
Keira Maguire, inset, was a member of her father Alistah Laishkochav's cult until the age of 5. Photo / Supplied

Australian Bachelor star Keira Maguire has opened up about her upbringing in a polygamist cult, revealing her biological father, a former police officer from New Zealand, had nine wives and 64 children.

Self-styled spiritual guru Alistah Laishkochav, who told his followers he was Jesus Christ, was the head of a polygamous cult, dailymail.com reported.

Laishkochav, who was born in Auckland, changed his name from Ian Lowe when he moved to Australia from New Zealand in 1969.

At 25, he married his first wife in a Mormon Church, where he was introduced to the concept of polygamy.

The polygamist drew his beliefs from sections of the Jewish, Muslim and Mormon religions.

The former policeman exerted his strict control over the group - of which Keira was a member until the age of 5 - from his Bells Beach compound in Victoria, Australia.

In 2000 he was found guilty of sexually penetrating a child under 10 as well as three counts of attempted penetration of a child and 16 counts of indecent assault.

Laishkochav, who was described by his harem of wives as "the controller", was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail. He reportedly died years later.

His offences involved four girls aged between seven and 11 and occurred between 1987 and 1991, according to reports.

Maguire would have only been 3 years old at the time.

During his trial, one of the victims told the court she was aged between 7 and 9 when Laishkochav molested her "every other day".

She also revealed how Laishkochav would threaten her with violence to ensure she stayed silent about the sexual abuse.

The girl said Laishkochav told her: "God would punish me and he would hurt me", according to The Age.

An 8-year-old girl also revealed how Laishkochav would kiss her and tell her she would eventually become his wife, the Australian reported.


Another victim told the trial Laishkochav would slap his children and tell them they had the devil in them.

The cult leader was also convicted of throwing a plank of wood at the head of one of the children.

Maguire told Daily Mail Australia that she has never had a relationship with Laishkochav, and fled the cult when she was just 5 years old with her mother and some of her siblings.

"My mother removed my family from that environment when I was 5 years old, over 25 years ago," she said.

In 2000 Alistah Laishkochav was jailed for seven years and six months after being convicted of 20 child sex offences and one charge of reckless injury. Photo / Supplied
In 2000 Alistah Laishkochav was jailed for seven years and six months after being convicted of 20 child sex offences and one charge of reckless injury. Photo / Supplied

"I was brought up by my mother and grandmother in Brisbane in a loving, caring and compassionate household.

"I had a wonderful childhood and I am extremely grateful to both my mother and grandmother for the upbringing which they provided me and my siblings.

"Although I have since met and reunited with my family, I have never had a relationship with Alistah Laishkochav."

She concluded: "Alistah Laishkochav is not relevant to who I am nor does he define me."

As reported in Australia's Woman's Day, the reality TV starlet kept her dark past hidden from The Bachelor's producers and only told them that her "father died 30 years go".

The cult leader, circled, was also convicted of throwing a plank of wood at the head of one of the children. Photo / AP
The cult leader, circled, was also convicted of throwing a plank of wood at the head of one of the children. Photo / AP
Laishkochav, who was born in Auckland, changed his name from Ian Lowe when he moved to Australia from New Zealand in 1969. Photo / via A Current Affair
Laishkochav, who was born in Auckland, changed his name from Ian Lowe when he moved to Australia from New Zealand in 1969. Photo / via A Current Affair

Up until the age of 5, Maguire had been living with her mother Michelle and their extended family in Bells Beach, Victoria, before moving to Byron Bay.

A Current Affair expose is expected to lift the lid on life inside the bizarre cult on tonight.

Footage has emerged which shows Laishkochav singing and playing the guitar surrounded by his wives.

He also reportedly believed he was Jesus Christ and that a UFO would take the group from earth in 1988.

The Courier Mail reported that he started attracting a group of young women to his communal lifestyle when he was living in Sydney in the 1970s.

He moved to his Bells Beach compound in 1983 and attracted dozens of young people from around Australia.

The cult leader is understood to have slept with his nine wives in one large bedroom.

In an interview with CBS-TV's Hard Copy programme, Laishkochav revealed that his enormous brood received $250,000 per year in welfare payments.

One of his former de facto wives also spoke out, saying that the "one unbreakable rule in the household was loyalty to Alistah".

The cult dissolved in 1993 following allegations of Laishkochav's offences.

Maguire's mother Michelle took her and her siblings Leilani, Shath, Jade, Ty and Sean to Queensland, where they began a new life.

Keira Maguire has ruffled feathers in the Bachelor house following multiple confrontations with other contestants. Photo / via The Bachelor
Keira Maguire has ruffled feathers in the Bachelor house following multiple confrontations with other contestants. Photo / via The Bachelor

The revelations come after the confident blonde took a break from social media following cyber abuse directed at her.

"I've been staying away from social media, but I did have a look at my page and someone called me a c***," Maguire told OK! magazine.

She said she was not happy with her villain status, but has decided to ignore it because she does not want to be a "miserable mess".

Maguire has ruffled feathers in the house following multiple confrontations with other contestants, including Eliza St John and Alex Nation.

But the outspoken real estate professional, who is friends with Aussie Bachelor Richie Strahan's cousin Lisa Clark, said she did not exaggerate her opinions for the camera.

"If anything I had a filter and tended not to say much because trust me, if I did actually say what I thought, s*** would be going down," she said.

Maguire said the constant steam of confrontations left her feeling drained during filming.

She revealed that she contemplated leaving the mansion "every day" and was so stressed that she could not sleep at night.

- Daily Mail

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