Conspiracy Milieu Doubles Down on Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse Hoax after Sabine McNeill Sentenced to Nine Years

Brian Gerrish, presenter of the conspiracy website UK Column, reacts to news of the sentence passed on Sabine McNeill following her conviction for stalking offences relating to the Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax last month:

Many people were shocked & saddened yesterday to hear that Sabine McNeill was given a 9 year sentence for stalking and breach of a restraining order. Two children recount events which no child of that age could possibly know without experiencing it. They are silenced as is Sabine

The two children in fact “recounted events” that were so extravagant that no reasonable person would take them at face value: they described a Satanic cult at their local school and church that received babies through the mail from Europe that were cooked and eaten in a back room at the local McDonalds, where up to 400 cult members would dance around in baby-skin shoes while wearing necklaces of baby skulls. They also provided precociously explicit accounts of sexual abuse, having been coached by their mother and stepfather, who have since left the country.

McNeill’s role in the hoax was to publicise details of parents, teachers, and children at the school, with devastating consequences for those she implicated; the nine-year sentence may appear harsh, but it reflects the gravity and extent of the harm that she caused. The website Hoaxtead Research has the judge’s sentencing remarks:

This was conduct intended to maximise distress and fear, there was a high level of planning involved in your use of the internet, and changing of settings between your blogs and changing sites when necessary. It was persistent over four years. 

…In terms of harm, the harm caused was very serious distress, there has been significant psychological harm, and the victims’ lives have changed to a hugely significant degree. The harm level is 1. 

Aggravating features are that you used a position of trust to start this campaign; the material was grossly offensive; the impact on children has been significant; you are in breach of a conditional discharge; you have a previous conviction for breach of the restraining order; your targets… include those in a position of serving the public, namely teachers and church staff.

Despite this outcome, Gerrish’s Tweet indicates that the conspiracy milieu will continue to believe and promote false and foul allegations against innocent people. Gerrish lacks the flamboyance or charisma of Alex Jones and David Icke (apparently he has a background as a naval officer, although his demeanour more readily brings to mind a 1980s supply teacher), and his UK Column videos have been rightly mocked by Hoaxtead as “newsroom cosplay”, but he is a significant conduit for promoting conspiracy beliefs in the UK, interviewing the likes of Jon Wedger and Wilfred Wong. On the populist right, McNeill has been described as a political prisoner by Tracey Blackwell, who is currently in the limelight for her “Yellow Vest” activism in central London alongside James Goddard.

Rather than admit to having made a bad investment (and Gerrish was also actively involved in promoting the Hampstead claims), the instinct is either to double-down or scrub the evidence, rather than to admit to having colluded in a terrible error that needs to be put right with a corrective repudiation. The prosecution’s characterisation of McNeill as an “online troll” suggests isolation and obscurity, but at the height of her Hampstead activism she made numerous appearances on alternative media outlets: the Richie Allen Show has deleted an old Tweet advertising “SABINE McNEILL Live Now Talking About COVER-UP OF SATANIC CHILD ABUSE IN HAMPSTEAD”; other appearances include on Bastion Radio’s Sunday Night Show, in discussion with Tony Gosling, and on Truth Frequency Radio’s Kev Baker Show. The allegations have also been promoted in the USA, primarily by a man named Thomas Dunn.

McNeill’s defence barrister said the false allegations “are no more all that defines Ms McNeill than the Hampstead allegations are all that define the parents”. It is irritating to see the the harm McNeill has brought on herself presented as equivalent to the much greater harm she has inflicted on others, but it is the case that McNeill already had profile as an activist interacting with public figures before she embraced the Hampstead hoax.

One of her causes over the years is the “Forum for Stable Currencies“; according to the website, between 2003 and 2005 she organised events that were convened by Lord Sudeley FSA, hosted by Lord Ahmed, and chaired by a businessman named Donald Martin and Austin Mitchell MP (with Canon Peter Challen taking the minutes). She also co-ran an organisation called the “Association of Mckenzie Friends”, which supports parents caught up in the family court system; patrons were formerly the MPs Jon Hemming and – once again – Austin Mitchell (1). In 2014, her efforts in this capacity were praised by the Telegraph journalist Christopher Booker, although the judge in her trial has observed that “when you were asked in this court what the duties of a McKenzie friend are, you did not know” (2).

Her work in this area also brought her into contact with Ian Josephs, an anti-family court activist (3) who has attempted to rationalise what has happened in a comment now posted to the Hoaxtead website:

…At the time of her sentencing, [Tracey Connelly] she was told she would serve a minimum of five years for causing or allowing her son Peter’s death. Tracey Connelly, the mother who allowed her 17-month-old son Baby P to be tortured to death by her lover, has reportedly been released from prison.

Sabine tortured no-one,physically hurt nobody at all .She just used words.Yet she was sentenced to 12 years reduced to nine ! Seem excessive to me even if she was mistaken in her accusations. After all the police released pretty convincing interviews with children who accused their teachers and parents and if they were coached nobody has ever said Sabine told them what to say.

I do not know all the facts and neither does anybody else because most of the evidence in the trial was heard in secret which makes the trial itself suspect…………….

This is being deliberately obtuse, but it shows how the trial is likely to be mythologised within the conspiracy milieu. The trial was not “secret” – it was open to the public every day, and reported extensively on the Hoaxtead website. There were, though, reporting restrictions to protect the identities of minors and those who have been falsely accused, and identity checks for the public gallery were introduced after some antics that amounted to contempt of court (4). “I do not know all the facts” here means “I wish to reserve my right to make pronouncements without engaging with the facts”.


1. Hemming was later accused of ritual abuse by Esther Baker – her claims were implausible and a police investigation was unable to substantiate them, although she continues to drop hints of some revelation that will vindicate her at some point in the future. In contrast to conspiricist support for McNeill, Baker and her associates imply that McNeill’s conviction somehow supports the narrative about Hemming. The key word here, though, is “imply”, as there is no coherent basis for such an inference. It is literally “guilt by association”.

2. McNeill co-ran this organisation with Belinda McKenzie, a 9/11 Truther who was formerly David Shayler’s landlord. McKenzie has just today herself been convicted of contempt of court for having named on Facebook protected witnesses at the McNeill trial.

3. Josephs famously assisted a young woman named Marie Black in relocating to France to escape a threat of forced adoption by social workers in Norwich. Black was later convicted of running a paedophile ring; incongruously, her innocence has been affirmed by at least one believer in the Hampstead hoax, as I discuss here (I also have doubts about her conviction, as it happens).

4. A man named Paul Rogers, who documents and promotes various right-leaning protests in London under the name “Eddie Isok”, made videos in which he named witnesses despite reporting restrictions and promised that he intended to film “certain people” outside Southwark Crown Court, “and then certain people in the know, I will tell them who these people are, right, and they will deal with it”. Another activist who showed up to report proceedings claimed that he was assaulted by an agent of the “Zionist conspiracy”.