Aussie Bachelor star Keira Maguire breaks down in tears as she speaks about upbringing with Kiwi father cult leader

Dark past: The Bachelor star Keira Maguire broke down in tears when she revealed she did not know who her mother was until she was five because of her upbringing in a cult.
Dark past: The Bachelor star Keira Maguire broke down in tears when she revealed she did not know who her mother was until she was five because of her upbringing in a cult.

The Bachelor star Keira Maguire broke down in tears when she revealed she did not know who her mother was until she was five because of her upbringing in a cult.

Keira, 29, kept the truth of how she was raised in the polygamous sect - headed by her convicted Kiwi paedophile father Alistah Laishkochav - secret from producers.

She told The Project that she did not tell people - even boyfriends - about her unusual childhood with 63 siblings because she feared she would be judged.

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

'I didn't know who my mum was until I was five. It sounds strange, but it just is what it is,' Keira told the show.

'I didn't even have birthdays. I think I had my first birthday when I was seven. For other people, it might be really sad. But it's not, because it's my story.'

Keira was born at the cult's Bells Beach commune in Victoria which was controlled by self-styled messiah Laishkochav - who had 64 children with nine wives.

Footage taken in 1992, which showed Michelle defending her decision to live as part of Laishkochav's harem, was aired on A Current Affair on Tuesday.

Fighting back tears, Keira said: 'My mum would be devastated that they're showing this again.

'When I saw my mum on TV, it was very confronting. That really upset me. I knew she didn't want to be there.

'She was the same age I am today when I saw her there. That was very confronting.'

She said she was forced to confront her past - after Woman's Day published a story about how her cult leader father has sexually abused four young girls.

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

The outspoken star said she always knew she was 'different', but was too scared to open up about her past.

'I kind of knew that I was different. I didn't want to tell people because I didn't want to be judged.

'Even in relationships with guys, I never opened up about it because I didn't want them to judge me because I'm not normal.'

She also voiced her concerns for her 63 siblings who were also born into the bizarre cult.

Seven years after Michelle fled the cult with her six children, Laishkochav was found guilty of sexually abusing four young girls.

The former policeman, whose real name is Ian Lowe, was jailed for more than seven years 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.

The despot abused the girls, who were aged between seven and 11, over a four-year period from 1987 to 1991. Keira would have only been three-years-old at the time.

Keira said that she has never had a relationship with Laishkochav and said the depraved cult leader does not define who she is as a person.

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

'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.

Kiwi Alistah Laishkochav claimed he was Jesus Christ. Photo / Supplied
Kiwi Alistah Laishkochav claimed he was Jesus Christ. Photo / Supplied

'Alistah Laishkochav is not relevant to who I am nor does he define me.'

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.'

Keira's half-brother Shem Baker told A Current Affair on Tuesday that he wanted Keira to be famous for who she is 'not for where she comes from'.

'A lot of us aren't proud that he was our father and we all just want to move on with our lives,' he told the show.

He said that Keira - who has been dubbed the villain of the new series - was probably picked because she is not afraid to speak her mind.

'Although they say these shows are scripted and characterised, I think they've picked her for how she is,' he said.

In footage taken in 1992, Keira's mother Michelle was seen defending her decision to live as part of the harem of nine wives.

Speaking from the Byron Bay commune in NSW, the mother-of-six said: 'I don't have that fear of sitting at home and wondering whether my husband is seeing the secretary or the shopkeeper.

'I don't have that fear of thinking - is he going to come back and love me,' she told A Current Affair.

She justified being part of his harem for more than a decade - alongside her sister Gail - by saying that she believed people are able to love more than one individual.

'Can you love more than one child,' she asked.

'Because if you have six children or even three or two. Do you just love the one, of course you don't, you love them all.'

Michelle also insisted that she found the self-styled messiah - who told his followers he was Jesus Christ - attractive.

She was not alone, as many of his other wives described him as 'intelligent' and 'sexy' with one saying she was 'really in awe of him'.

Keira'a mother, Michelle, fled the group with her six children in 1993 when Keira was just five-years-old.
Keira'a mother, Michelle, fled the group with her six children in 1993 when Keira was just five-years-old.

Michelle gave birth to Keira at the first commune in Bells Beach, Victoria, before moving to the hippie town of Byron Bay with the group.

But eight months after the footage was taken, Michelle fled the cult with her six children, closely followed by two others wives.

She took Keira and her siblings Leilani, Shath, Jade, Ty and Sean to Queensland, where they began a new life.

Michelle revealed that she decided to leave the cult in 1993 because the power had gone to Laishkochav's head.

'Once the ego sets in, they think they can do it anything,' she said.

Another former wife added: 'It blew up into an argument and we told him he had to leave.'

In the footage taken in 1992, Laishkochav boasted about his ability to satisfy five women every night.

He also compared himself to King Solomon and insisted he was 'not greedy' for having nine wives.

'King Solomon had so many wives,' he said.

'I'm not that greedy, surely. He had 70 wives and 500 concubines. When it comes to women. I'm selfish.

'I don't think I am more special than any other man and I believe any man can do what I do and satisfy four to five women a night.'

The polygamist is understood to have slept with all nine of his de facto wives in one bedroom, while his children had to share with as many as 15 others.

Over the years, his brood grew so large that Laishkochav admitted to CBS-TV's Hard Copy that he received a staggering $250,000 per year in welfare payments.

He ruled his clan with a rod of iron and borrowed elements of Judaism, Mormonism, Islam and the beliefs of Pacific Islanders to justify having multiple wives.

The Australian reported the leader strongly believed a UFO would take the group from earth in 1988.

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

Encouraged to chant every night, Laishkochav's were also led to believe all outsiders were 'evil' and that they could only be saved by God.

During his 2000 trial, one of the victims told the court she was aged between seven and nine 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 eight-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.

Laishkochav, who was born in Auckland, 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.

He attracted a number of women to his communal lifestyle while living in Sydney in the 1970s.

They all moved to the Bells Beach compound in Victoria in 1983 where the brood rapidly expanded.

Laishkochav and his nine wives and 64 children then moved to Byron Bay.

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

The Courier Mail reported that Laishkochav was deported back to his native New Zealand in 2008 after completing his jail term.

Big family: Some of Keira's siblings, including her brother Shath have reunited since leaving the cult. Photo / Facebook
Big family: Some of Keira's siblings, including her brother Shath have reunited since leaving the cult. Photo / Facebook

Keira's half-brother Moke has confirmed to Woman's Day that he is related to the blonde and revealed 'the family find it hilarious' that their relative has landed on television.

The shocking 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***,' Keira 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'.

Keira 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 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, shit would be going down,' she said.

Keira said the constant steam of confrontations left her feeling drained during filmed.

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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