If Hoaxtead were a game of chess, it would be fair to say that the end game has been reached. Most of the pieces have been knocked off the board, and the king and queen are on the run, protected only by a couple of random pawns (we didn’t say it was a good chess game).
At this point, perhaps it’s a good idea to look back and review how Ella and Abe got to this sorry point: how did it all go so terribly, horribly wrong?
To evaluate that properly, we need to go back…way back…to the beginning. In early 2014, Ella had a problem: her children’s father, who’d left her several years before, kept trying to exert his legal right to see their children. Ella had tried everything to bar him, but nothing had worked, and the courts kept telling her the kids had a right to see their father, and vice versa.
Enter Abe—the man with a plan. Abe was a petty criminal who covered his various life failures with a veneer of strutting puffery. He wasn’t good at much…but lying was second nature to him; and he had a gift for sounding as though he believed his own tall tales, no matter how loony. He was just the man Ella’d been looking for.
Together, they concocted a plan. It wasn’t a terribly original plan—basically just “accuse Ella’s ex of having sexually abused the children”—a strategy that has worked many times in other acrimonious child access cases.
Except that Abe just couldn’t keep it simple. What if, instead of just plain, common-or-garden sexual abuse, they could accuse Ricky of something so heinous, so blazingly horrific, that no judge in the world would ever allow him to come near his children again?
What if they accused him of Satanic ritual abuse?
It was foolproof, Abe thought. And it offered him the perfect opportunity to smack down all the posh snobs at the children’s school who’d looked down their noses at him when he and Ella became an item. He’d accuse them, too, all of them. See how they liked being looked down on, for a change.
According to the judgement,
In August 2014, at a time when he was on holiday in France, Jean-Clement Yaohirou received phone calls and messages from Mr Christie in which he said he had information regarding the abuse of children. In evidence, Mr Yaohirou said that Abraham ‘had not been coming forward with specific information.’ Abraham Christie had said that a church, a school in Hampstead and a police station in Haringey were involved. Mr Yaohirou had asked whether Mr Christie ‘had evidence’. He said, ‘Yes’, and ‘that was it for July.’
That was it, then. If they needed evidence, evidence they would have.
Abe and Ella began brainstorming: “Ella and I, we will begin to discuss further aspects of the situation and by discussing it we brainstorm and together we come up…we work out…we work things out”. (Whoops, almost let the cat out of the bag there, Abe.)
The problem, though, was the children. Abe and Ella knew the kids would need to provide statements; and they’d need to be able to tell the same story to several different people, as convincingly as possible. How to ensure that they’d do it right? Well, Abe happened to have property in Morocco, where they could go for a nice little family vacation while the kids learned their lines.
At first, the kids were reluctant to say their father had done anything wrong, but Abe had certain…techniques to help them change their minds. He was no stranger to violence against children: his own kids told stories of being lined up to read aloud, and anyone who stumbled over the words would get his ‘special treatment’: they’d be beaten into submission.
For her part, Ella kept quiet and allowed Abe to threaten, punch, kick, suffocate, and burn her children with heated metal spoons…because she wanted the kids to be fully motivated to tell the story she and Abe had concocted, and get them away from Ricky forever. The torture was just a means to an end…and the scars would heal eventually.
They rehearsed the kids mercilessly, over and over, for a full month. On the way back to the UK, Abe had a brainwave: he’d video the kids in their little performance pieces, in case they happened to forget their lines while they were telling them to the social workers back home. He’d be able to whip out his phone and play the videos: proof!
Once they were back in the UK, their first stop was at Jean-Clement’s house, where Abe put the children through their paces again. J-C had wanted evidence? Here it was. Two sweet-faced children, their cuts and bruises mostly healed, telling their stories like champs.
J-C recorded this marathon three-hour recitation, which offers a glimpse at Abe’s continued coaching:
Towards the end of the recording there is a passage when the children and Mr Christie are all shouting, excitedly, “Kill, kill, kill.” Mr Christie urges the children to “Say it… Say it how they say it.” A. “Kill, kill, kill.” …. Mr Christie, “What’s the word that you say?” A. “Kill.” Mr Christie, “Say it more for me. I want to hear it…. I like the sound of it. Can you say it together, say it, let’s all say it together.” There is then repeated chanting of the word “Kill” and a little later of the phrase, “Kill the baby.” Once more Mr Christie urges the children on saying, “Let’s say it together. Let’s say it together. Kill the baby.” And they do.
It should have gone so well. Abe and Ella set it up so perfectly: they had the children saying exactly what they wanted, and J-C seemed genuinely concerned by what he’d heard.
But here’s where it started to go wrong: J-C insisted on them going straight to the police and reporting the ‘abuse’…and after an initial investigation that turned up no evidence of any sort, the police began asking some very awkward questions. Worst of all, it turned out that one of the officers is someone Abe had met before, when he’d assaulted his own son. Whoops.
The main problem, you see, is that neither of them had factored the criminal justice system into their plotting and planning. They’d concocted their story for the benefit of the Family Court, but hadn’t taken the police and CPS into consideration. They’d thought as far as ‘get Ricky out of the kids’ lives’…and no further.
And once the police realised that the kids had been abused—but not by Ricky—the whole thing began to go pear-shaped.
Everything that’s happened since then has been damage control, as the case spiralled out of control and Abe and Ella desperately tried to salvage it. From leaking the videos to doing interviews to alienating all but a very few hardcore supporters, each time they’ve tried to take control of the thing, it’s deteriorated further.
Which brings us back to the original question: what’s the end game for Abe and Ella?
They’ve been living in the south of Spain for several months now, and aside from their shots over the battlements at the police, and Ella’s ill-fated appeal attempt, they seem to be doing nothing whatsoever to get Ella’s kids back. They can’t return home without facing arrest, and even if they managed to jump that hurdle, they’d have no chance of getting the children back.
Perhaps they have no intention of coming back to the UK; it may be that by this time they’re just going through the motions, too used to insisting that their fabricated ‘cult’ is a reality, to stop the farce.
Do they really think that this will end any other way than with Ella’s children in the care of the partner she tried so hard to destroy?
At this point, we can all see that the game has played itself out.
When will Abe and Ella acknowledge the hash they’ve made, and move on?