Daily Mail Probes Esther Story as Ex-MP Interviewed By Police

UPDATE (September 2017): The CPS has declined to prosecute, and the ex-MP has now identified himself as John Hemming. He has issued a “Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker”, in which he writes that “police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever”.

Meanwhile, Staffordshire Police has issued a statement in which it says that “throughout this process our priority has been to support Esther and ensure all potential lines of enquiry were carefully assessed and investigated.” In keeping with this, a quote from Supt Amanda Davies describes Baker as “the victim” rather than “the complainant”.

From the Daily Mail:

A former MP became the latest victim of Labour’s child sex abuse ‘witch-hunt’ yesterday.

Detectives questioned him for three hours over claims he raped girls as young as six while uniformed police kept watch.

Esther Baker, 32, waived her right to anonymity earlier this year to claim she was one of several children abused by the politician.

…The politician claimed Miss Baker, who lives in Liverpool, was being ‘manipulated by third parties driving an agenda against me’.

…He said he turned up by police appointment and was interviewed between 11.30am and 2.30pm. ‘There was a detailed discussion including me providing information about her motives for perverting the course of justice,’ he said. ‘What has happened is that the police responded to the public campaign of two Labour MPs.’

…He claimed that, before accusing him of ‘monstrous’ crimes, Miss Baker had, under an assumed name, made a different set of allegations against others, claiming she had been abused by a ‘faith-based paedophile group in a church setting’.

Baker’s account has been in the public domain for some months; the same paper that now complains about “Labour’s child sex abuse ‘witch-hunt'” was more than happy to report her story in May under the lurid headline “VIPs raped me in wood as police stood guard: Child sex abuse victim claims judge and peer were among gang”.

The paper’s newly-discovered scepticism reflects a new editorial line of attacking Tom Watson, [1] who has endorsed and promoted the claims of several alleged “survivors” in ways that have given hostages to fortune. Oddly, however, although the above story includes details about Watson, the “two Labour MPs” are not identified. The Guardian, however, clarifies the point:

The former MP said: “We must continue to listen to people who allege that they have been abused as children. We must not be derailed by … politicians, like Jess Phillips and John Mann, who have been openly campaigning on one side of this case during an ongoing police investigation.”

Mann has referred to Baker’s case in Parliament; he boasts of having a list of names of VIP paedophiles, and when Harvey Proctor’s home was raided earlier this year he crowed to the Mail that this would be the “first of many” investigations.

According to Baker’s story, she was sexually abused at night in woodland (shades of Satanic Ritual Abuse, although that does not form an explicit part of the allegations), as well as in buildings in Staffordshire. On one occasion, according to one report, “she heard one of her abusers being addressed as ‘Lord’, which, she claims, made her believe that he was God.” Apparently, there has been an arrest of someone else she has accused of being a part of this.

Baker also says that she was taken to London, and that she recognised details from “Darren” of a fake “medical room” at Dolphin Square where grotesque forms of abuse took place. In turn, “Darren” says that he recognises Baker from a photograph. However, “Darren’s” credibility has now come under considerable strain: he has a long history of disturbed behaviour, including false confessions and a hoax bomb threat, and he is no longer cooperating with police. He also made an allegation against Leon Brittan, despite previously previously denying that Brittan had abused him.

Baker has not just gone public; she has become a social-media commentator on the subject of “VIP abuse” claims, often bantering with those who take a more sceptical approach to the subject. However, those tempted to get involved should be careful: in August, she told Exaro News that there are “infiltrators” on social media who are “associated” with her abusers. Handily, that casts a shadow over anyone who might dare to raise doubts.

Today’s story follows a piece in the Mail on Sunday in which it was reported that

Questions were raised about Ms Baker’s account after it was revealed that in January, months before she publicly made the rape claim, she admitted she ‘had never met a politician in my life’. Later she said she meant that she had never met a politician in a professional capacity.

The unnamed ex-MP now adds that “Not to my knowledge have I ever met her, but she may have been at a meeting I spoke at earlier this year.”

This brings us to the question of the “third parties” who the MP claims are “manipulating” Baker. Baker is strongly associated with a charity for abuse survivors in Liverpool run by a man named Graham Wilmer. There have been reports of infighting between survivors and survivors’ groups (particularly in relation to the child abuse inquiry), and Wilmer is in a bitter feud with two individuals in particular. On Twitter, Wilmer has accused these two individuals of having “dodgy” links to the ex-MP, and he has posted goading messages implying that some sort of devastating exposure is just around the corner (the phrase “tick-tock” seems to be a favourite). This leaves a very poor impression – in my experience, someone alluding to the existence of a police process as evidence of criminality, particularly in a gloating manner, is a big warning sign of bad faith. [2]


[1] Note, for instance, the Mail‘s reporting of “Jane”, a woman who claims that she was raped by Leon Brittan in 1967 – in June, the paper reported that the police had closed the case due to “insufficient evidence”; only in October did the paper definitively describe the allegation as “false”. The paper attempted to downplay its change of of emphasis by stating that “Now it can be disclosed the woman… may have had a political motive because she is a Labour activist”, but this was a detail that paper had previously reported more than once anyway. Background here.

[2] More background on this from Anna Raccoon.