“Westminster VIP Child Sex Abuse” Accuser Granted IICSA “Core Participant” Status

On Lord Bramall: “Who’s that cow bag saying Bramall is an innocent man?”

From the Sunday Times:

A former MP is to write to Alexis Jay, head of an inquiry into child sex abuse, challenging her decision to grant a key role to a woman he describes as a “fantasist”.

John Hemming, who was the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley from 2005 until 2015, was accused by Esther Baker of raping her at paedophile sex orgies in woods at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, when she was aged between six and 11. She said police officers would stand guard, and bring back children who ran away.

The Staffordshire force investigated the allegations for more than two years but dropped the case in September.

Now Baker, 35, has been granted “core participant” status for the Westminster strand of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, chaired by Jay. The special status will allow Baker to see confidential documents and she could also claim expenses. Baker will also be allowed to suggests questions to be put to witnesses giving evidence.

An earlier article covering the same ground was published yesterday in the Daily Mail. Both pieces quote Hemming as saying that Baker has “a public track record of continually changing her public allegations”, with the earlier article adding that:

…In a High Court witness statement this month, the ex-MP claimed that two weeks before she accused him of rape, Miss Baker had emailed him and sought his help.

He said: ‘She did not accuse me of being a rapist … she said she had been abused as a child in a faith-related paedophile ring. Her own MP and the Prime Minister did not assist her so she forwarded the email to me asking for my help.

…In his statement, part of legal action he is taking against a supporter of Miss Baker, Mr Hemming alleged that prior to accusing him she tweeted that she had ‘never’ met an MP.

I previously discussed the case in September, and before that in October 2015. Although Baker has never used the phrase “Satanic Ritual Abuse”, her account of being abused in woodlands with police guards and the participation of professionals such as a judge are obvious SRA tropes.

It is true that Baker’s allegations changed and developed – she first gave an interview to  Channel 4 News as “Becky” in January 2015, in which she said that she had been abused “in a church setting”, and that some of the abusers had been police officers who attended the church. These police officers were later described as guards at woodland orgies. Later, Baker went on to explain that she had been transported by night without her mother’s knowledge to Dolphin Square in London, where she had been subjected to sex abuse by VIPs. She claimed to recall a “medical room” described by “Darren”, a now-discredited “Westminster VIP” accuser who in turn claimed to remember seeing Baker.

The Sunday Times says that Baker first claimed that politicians were involved in her alleged abuse in May 2015, although she has published a screenshot showing that she had accused Hemming privately to a third party on 30 January 2015. Three months before this date, Hemming had criticised the decision to make Fiona Woolf the head of the IICSA – in contrast, Woolf was supported by a significant activist with links to Baker.

Baker also remains a strong supporter of Operation Midland’s “Nick”, whose sensational claims of having seen public figures rape, torture and murder children sent the Metropolitan Police on a multi-million pound wild-goose chase: in February 2016 she asked “Who’s that cow bag saying Bramall is an innocent man?”, referring to Nick’s allegations against the former Chief of the General Staff of the British Army. According to Nick, Lord Bramall would spend Remembrance Sunday not in commemoration of Britain’s war dead, but instead participating in sadistic CSA orgies during which remembrance poppies were pinned onto his victim’s bare skin – bizarre ritual inversions that again recall SRA [UPDATE 2019: Nick can now be named as Carl Beech, and his claims have been found to have been fraudulent. More details here].

Baker has many supporters on social media who are invested in the idea of “VIP abuse” conspiracies as being the secret key to understanding British public life over many decades. These supporters believe that pointing out difficulties and inconsistencies in “survivor” allegations is an act of wickedness, and probably part of a conspiracy to protect and promote paedophiles. Baker’s contemptuous “cow bag” abuse against someone for daring to defend the reputation of the elderly Lord Bramall is just a hint of what lies ahead for those who give testimony to the IICSA that is not to her liking.

In response to the new articles, supporters argue that the material can be dismissed out of hand for the simple reason that it has been published in the Daily Mail. Baker also says that her case in fact is ongoing, and that there is further evidence that she cannot currently talk about but that “due process” will reveal. It should be noted that although the Sunday Times article says that Staffordshire Police “dropped the case”, the decision was actually taken by the CPS, on the grounds that Baker’s allegations could be a case of mistaken identity. Baker is currently challenging this decision through formal channels (she says “they applied the wrong guidelines”), and the article has the detail that “Staffordshire police have said they will continue to support her”. Further, she has indicated that the police are still investigating other complaints she has made, and as such reports that raise doubts about her Hemming allegations are “prejudicial”.  According to her account, we are unlikely to know more until 2019.

Hemming’s name was not publicised in the media until September 2017, when he came forward (although activists had named him at events before then, and it was widely known that he had been accused by Baker). This meant that his initial quotes on the subject in 2015 were not at the time directly attributed to him, such as this one in the Guardian:

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.”

Phillips won Hemming’s seat in the 2015 General Election, since when she has achieved wide public recognition. The same article includes indignant denials from the two politicians, although it is certainly the case that they promoted Baker’s narrative and would have known that Hemming was the “former MP”. However, neither Phillips nor Mann have made further public statements about Baker since the CPS dropped the case and Hemming went public.