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Satanic Ritual Abuse Hoax In North London: 9/11 Truther Spread Claims

False accusations included claim that “all the cult members wore shoes made of baby skin produced by the owner of a specified shoe repair shop”

From the Daily Telegraph:

An “evil” mother tortured her two young children into falsely claiming that their father was the leader of a Satanic rape cult who drank babies’ blood.

Ella Draper brainwashed her children into lying to police that their father led a secret sex ring at a primary school in Hampstead, London.

When posted on the internet, the lurid claims sparked a huge global web campaign to unmask the alleged abusers.

But an investigation found the allegations had in fact been dreamed up by Draper and her partner, Abraham Christie, to ensure her former partner would be refused custody of the children.

…At a family court hearing yesterday to determine the facts of the case, Mrs Justice Pauffley said the boy and girl had been “tortured” into making false claims, saying their “minds were scrambled”.

The court’s judgment, by Mrs Justice Pauffley, has been made public and can be seen here (H/T @barristerblog). The children were coerced and coached into making claims – since retracted – that were sexually explicit, lurid, and conspiratorial:

Sickening ceremonies led by the father were said to have been performed in the upstairs room of a McDonalds restaurant, as well as on school grounds. It was alleged that more than 100 people were “doing sex” to the children, including the school’s headteacher, another teacher, a priest at the neighbouring church and others.

Details of the supposed child sacrifices were simultaneously grotesque and ludicrous:

Specifically, it was said that babies were supplied from all over the world. They were bought, injected with drugs and then sent by TNT or DHL to London. The assertions were that babies had been abused, tortured and then sacrificed. Their throats were slit, blood was drunk and cult members would then dance wearing babies’ skulls (sometimes with blood and hair still attached) on their bodies. All the cult members wore shoes made of baby skin produced by the owner of a specified shoe repair shop.

As a result of the dissemination of the false accusations, a number of innocent people have received threatening phone calls. Pauffley adds:

All the signs are that those responsible for posting material derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from attracting interest to their spiteful work from many thousands of people… The claims are baseless. Those who have sought to perpetuate them are evil and / or foolish.

And who are “those responsible”? Back in the 1980s, this kind of thing was promoted by evangelical Christian activists and their media sub-culture (in the UK, this included a sensationalist Christian paperback, entitled Dance with the Devil, which was endorsed by Geoffrey Dickens MP). This time, however, it’s a different crowd: conspiracy theorists and 9/11 Truthers. The judgment mentions “Sabine McNeill, one of [the mother’s] supporters” and Belinda McKenzie, who sought to act as a McKenzie friend for the mother and who led protests outside the court.

McKenzie is David Shayler’s former landlady (1), and according to researcher Paul Stott she is also “the primary funder of the UK and Ireland 9/11 Truth Movement”. She was also formerly involved with support for the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI, aka MEK – blogged here), and she has also been active promoting the “Hollie Greig” sex-abuse conspiracy theory.

McNeill, meanwhile, is an activist against family courts (2). The two of them have an organisation called the Knight Foundation, and YouTube videos promoting the Satanic Ritual Abuse accusations have been posted in its name. However, McNeill has apparently now left the UK for Germany in fear of legal consequences over the case. On Twitter and her own website she remains unrepentant, arguing that the fact the children are still in care proves the truth of the stories they retracted.

The mother is also “believed to have fled abroad”. She is originally from Russia, and if she’s gone back there it’s possible that she’ll receive a sympathetic hearing: there is a group in Moscow called Russian Mothers, which specialises in promoting horror stories about Russian heritage children being raised abroad. I wrote about it here.

UPDATE (25 March): Believers are now abusing churchgoers in Hampstead; see here.

Notes

(1) Shayler has himself promoted claims of Satanic abuse, as I noted in 2008.

(2) (H/T Ministry of Truth for this) In 2011, McNeill became embroiled in the the story of Vicky Haigh, a woman who had coached her 7-year-old daughter to make false allegations of sex abuse against her (the child’s) father as part of a custody dispute. An associate named Elizabeth Watson ended up being jailed for contempt of court for, in the judge’s words “put[ting] into the public domain via email and the internet a series of unwarranted and scandalous allegations about the father and others.” However, Watson maintained that she had merely “investigated” the matter, and that the publication of her claims had been made without her permission by McNeill.

Prior to this, Haigh had spoken about her custody dispute at a public meeting in Parliament chaired by Lib Dem MP John Hemming, in defiance of a court order banning publicity. The Independent has details of what happened next:

After the meeting, Ms Haigh received a court summons that appeared to threaten her with prison. Mr Hemming raised the case on the floor of the House of Commons, as a potential breach of parliamentary privilege and a threat to free speech. Mr Hemming also named Ms Haigh, which he was able to do because he was an MP speaking in the Commons.

Following the revelations about Haigh’s character, Hemming came under heavy criticism from Labour MP John Mann:

This judgment prompted Mr Mann, who was Vicky Haigh’s local MP at the time, to denounce Mr Hemming for drawing attention to the case. “A gung-ho attitude to the breaching of court injunctions on the floor of the House is foolhardy and irresponsible,” he said.

Carl Gardner, writing at Head of Legal, added that Hemming had had contact with Watson – and with McNeill:

here he is speaking about “secret prisoners” at a meeting in Parliament in January chaired by Sabine K. O’Neill, another Haigh supporter (sitting immediately to Hemming’s right).

In the past Ms. O’Neill published on one of her websites the “chronology” written about Vicky Haigh’s case by Watson. She’s also commented recently on John Hemming’s blog, where she’s posted the URL of that website and of her newer, dedicated Vicky Haigh campaign website, where only today she has again republished Elizabeth Watson’s “chronology”. I hope John Hemming at least redacts those comments soon.

Unity at Ministry of Truth has more about Haigh, Watson and Hemmings here and here.