TV and Radio

Radio review: The real stories behind the Waco siege

End of Days - BBC Radio 5 Live Podcast

DAVID Koresh thought he was the new Messiah.

He and scores of his followers - 86 in total - died in the Waco siege of 1993 that ended when a huge fireball ripped through the cult's Texas compound.

What has been largely hidden was that 30 of those followers came from the streets of Manchester, London and Nottingham - 24 of those who died in Waco were Britons.

Producer Ciaran Tracey and presenter Chris Warburton take us with them to speak to the families of those largely unknown individuals.

It's a chilling podcast.

We're learning just how much power Koresh had, his sheer force of personality.

It's 5 Live style - that's conversational and all about the excitement of tracking down the truth. It's ballsy with cups of tea.

We're on the road with Warburton and Tracey as they're on the scent of a story and they're chatting about it, mesmerised by this man's charisma.

We start off outside number 31 on a suburban street somewhere on the outskirts of Manchester.

"That's where they would have been 'brainwashed' for want of a better word," says one.

"If they hadn't have come here, they might have lived," says the other.

They end up in Waco.

It was all meant to be about heaven and the new Christ, but it turned to hell in Texas for those who followed Koresh.

Sam Henry lost his daughter to Koresh first. He flew out to Texas to try and persuade her to come home.

His words fell on deaf ears. Worse was to come. His daughter talked her mother and four siblings into following her - none of them would return alive.

After a siege that went on for weeks, the FBI's attempts to release cult members ended in a fireball.

And all of those young people?

They were real, vibrant - this is their stories.

Strange how a leaflet pushed through a letterbox can change lives utterly.

Maybe some called them the "wackos of Waco" but, sighed one woman who lost her outgoing, soul-loving sister: "They were like you and me."

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