Who was David Koresh, when was the Waco Siege and how many Brits joined the notorious leader of Branch Davidians? | The Sun

DAVID Koresh, the delusional leader of The Branch cult, brainwashed his victims into believing the apocalypse was about to destroy earth.

His 'teachings' and 'church' ultimately led to the massacre of 76 cult members, including 25 children and two pregnant women and four ATF agents.

Who was David Koresh?

He was born on August 17, 1959, in Houston, Texas, to Bonnie Clark.

His real name was Vernon Howell, before changing it to copy Old Testament kings, and claiming to be God's prophet.

Bonnie was a 14-year-old single mother and Koresh never met his dad, Bobby Wayne Howell – who abandoned his mum for another teenage girl.

It is reported Bonnie started living with a violent alcoholic following the split and eventually left Koresh in the care of her mother Earline Clark.

He was just four-years-old when Bonnie ran away with her boyfriend, and seven when she returned.

Koresh had a difficult childhood and was bullied at school due to his dyslexia.

Fellow students reportedly nicknamed him "Mr Retardo" and he ended up dropping out of Garland High School in his junior year.

In his 20s he became a born-again Christian and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church after allegedly getting an underage girl pregnant.

But this transition was short lived when he was exiled after claiming God wanted him to marry the leader's daughter.

Koresh turned to the Seventh-day Adventist Church splinter group the Branch Davidians and moved into their remote rural compound in Waco, Texas.

It is claimed by David Thibodeau in his book A Place Called Waco, that Koresh had begun a sexual relationship with the widow of the former sect leader.

After this, he claimed God had chosen him to father a child by her – the Chosen One.

Soon he began claiming he was a prophet – the so-called "lamb" and Son of God who was the only one who could unlock the Book of Revelation's Seven Seals.

Koresh had extensive knowledge of the Bible, which he had memorised large sections of, and became leader of the group in 1987.

Koresh, who regarded himself as an angel and God’s agent, collected followers from around the world, including Britain.

And despite annulling followers’ marriages, he said that God had ordered him to have as many wives as he wanted and that he could have sex with whomever he wished to.

Koresh claimed to be Christ and to have knowledge of the seven seals of the apocalypse.

He was depicted in the media as having total control over his followers, 30 of whom were British, and hailed from London, Nottingham and Manchester.

When was the Waco Siege?

Reports differ on the exact number of people who died at the Waco Siege, but 76 Davidians, including 25 children and two pregnant women are thought to have perished.

Twenty-four of the victims were British.

Only nine Davidians escaped the fire.

The 51-day standoff between the religious sect and the American Government began in early 1993.

On February 28, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) tried to carry out search and arrest warrants for Koresh.

They suspected he was in possession of illegal firearms and explosives, and asked for help from FBI agents.

Government officials estimated there was a stockpile of nearly 250 weapons inside the compound, which was believed to house more than 100 men, women and children. There was a year's supply of food rations.

However, this raid descended into a gun battle, which resulted in four ATF agents being killed, 20 agents being wounded and an unknown number of Davidians killed and injured.

Koresh was among those wounded, but he and the majority of his followers refused to leave the compound.

On March 1, 1993, FBI agents took control of the 77-acre complex, and a 51-day siege followed the initial bungled operation.

On April 19, with Koresh still refusing to surrender despite ongoing negotiations, and pressure tactics, the siege ended after FBI agents carried out a tank and tear gas assault to force the Branch Davidians to leave the compound.

By midday, after a few hours of being under gas attack, several fires started inside the compound.

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