WARNING - DISTURBING CONTENT

The ex-partner of a father-of-two who was tortured to death by a sadistic cult that forced him to eat one of his own testicles has told of her agony at not being able to save him.

Vulnerable Jimmy Prout suffered months of abuse at the hands of a group led by wheelchair bound Zahid Zaman, before his body was discovered in wasteland just yards from his home in North Shields, North Tyneside.

Mr Prout, 45, was subjected to savage beatings by the gang over a number of months, as they knocked his teeth out with a hammer and chisel and also forced him to have sex with a dog.

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Chilling CCTV footage shows Mr Prout in the days before he was murdered, looking gaunt and frail as he is dragged along a street by his killers.

Now his ex partner of 14 years has spoken of the horrors that Mr Prout was subjected to during his final few months alive, and how she hopes his killers will die in jail.

Ms Carter is interviewed for Cults, Taboos and Twisted Faith UK on Crime and Investigation tonight, telling of her disbelief at why Mr Prout was never able to escape the clutches of the group before he was killed.

Ms Carter, who split with Mr Prout before he was brainwashed, said she regrets ever leaving him.

She tells the programme: "I thought Jimmy hated fighting, if somebody went towards him to have a go at him, he would run.

"I can't understand, why didn't he run? Why didn't he leave?

"He was so scared to leave.

"I wish I could have heard his voice again. To say that I was sorry. I shouldn't have left him."

Shocking CCTV, pictured, showed Mr Prout being dragged along the streets by members of the group. Photo / Northumbria Police
Shocking CCTV, pictured, showed Mr Prout being dragged along the streets by members of the group. Photo / Northumbria Police

Mr Prout thought the group were his friends, but it developed into a 'cultish dimension' led by Zaman.

Zaman was a regular at charity events with and he once even refused a reward for returning a lost dog to its owner.

But in reality he was a cult leader who manipulated vulnerable people who he could control.

In what was dubbed the North Shields Death Cult by the local press, Zaman coerced three women: Ann Corbett, Myra Wood and Kay Rayworth into moving into his home.

He met Mr Prout in a soup kitchen for the homeless, and also moved him into his home which is when the abuse began.

Jurors during his trial heard how Zaman, who was described as 'vengeful' and 'controlling' was determined to get his own back after he thought Mr Prout had been involved in a theft against him.

From late 2015 until his body was discovered in February 2016, he was subjected to a catalogue of horrific abuse.

This is the moment Prout collapses after months of horrific abuse. Photo / Northumbria Police
This is the moment Prout collapses after months of horrific abuse. Photo / Northumbria Police

Mr Prout was also posting pictures of his injuries on his own Facebook account at the time, with words such as 'My bodie hurt' and 'My sholder hurts'.

After he died, his body was dumped on wasteland where it began to decompose and was partly eaten by animals.

The group then allegedly set about covering their tracks as well as fleecing his bank account, asking people if they had seen Mr Prout as they pretended to look for him.

The jury were shown CCTV images, often taken from cameras Zaman had on his house, of the worsening condition of Mr Prout as the assaults continued.

Footage from October 18 2015 shows him walking and jogging. But the next clip, from February 5 2016, showed him staggering along, before slumping on a fence.

Ms Carter added: "They were showing Jimmy on CCTV cameras.

"That wasn't the Jimmy I knew. The way he was walking, dragging him."

She continued: "The Jimmy I knew he was clean, tidy, he was smartly dressed.

"But by this time he was scruffy, and I'm looking at him saying, that's not Jimmy.

"They knew he was vulnerable, they knew he was homeless. I'm thinking why didn't he walk away?"

Zahid Zaman and Ann Corbett, above, were found guilty of murder. Myra Wood, left and Kay Rayworth, below, were convicted of allowing Mr Prout's death. Photo / Northumbria Police
Zahid Zaman and Ann Corbett, above, were found guilty of murder. Myra Wood, left and Kay Rayworth, below, were convicted of allowing Mr Prout's death. Photo / Northumbria Police

Zaman was convicted of murder alongside Ann Corbett at Newcastle Crown Court. He was jailed for a minimum of 33 years in July last year. Corbett must serve 27.

Myra Wood and Kay Rayworth were cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult. Wood was sentenced to nine years in jail. Rayworth was handed a 12-year sentence.

Ms Carter added: "They should die in jail.

"The perpetrator of the cult put his head down and didn't even look at the judge because he knew what he had done.

"It was despicable. He knew the evil that he had done to him."

Paul Greany QC, who was prosecutor at the trial, tells the programme: "This was a single individual, who had gathered around him a number of vulnerable people who was exercising complete control over their lives.

"He decided where they lived, what they did, even where they ate.

"The kind of cultish behaviour that this case revealed often occurs totally under the radar.

"The public were outraged by the brutal and barbaric way in which Jimmy had been treated by the people he thought were his friends.

"He wasn't just beaten with fists and feet, it wasn't just that weapons were taken to him on a regular basis, but he was also subject to terrible tortures, tortures of the type that hadn't been seen since the Dark Ages.

"All of us involved in the case were affected by what we knew Jimmy had been through."