For the past year, we’ve expressed our support for the children, parents, teachers, clergy, and business people of Hampstead, all victims of a malicious, cold-blooded hoax that has tried to falsely accuse them of the most horrendous of crimes.
We’ve talked about the court’s response to Abe and Ella’s ludicrous allegations—a full exoneration of RD and the Christ Church School community—and the ways in which the police have attempted to control the situation, trying to stem the tide of abuse and threats.
What we really haven’t addressed is the fact that the Hampstead community has been failed more often than they’ve been helped by the services that were supposed to protect them.
On the first weekend in February 2015, a group of parents of children at Christ Church Primary School were informed by police that they had all been named as ‘cult members’ who murdered, raped, and cannibalised children.
The parents sat, stunned, as they were told that Sabine McNeill had shared Ella Draper’s list of their email addresses and home addresses. Their hearts dropped as they realised that their young children had been named, and were now open targets for any paedophile looking for prey online.
At that time, police reassured the parents that this would all blow over in a week or two. Everything would soon go back to normal. No need to panic.
Despite the urging of the parents at that time, the police did not take immediate action to arrest the suspected perpetrators. Sabine, Abe, and Ella were all in London and could have been brought in for questioning on the matter; instead, there was waffling and indecision, and by the time the police had made up their minds to pop round to Ella’s house and have a word, the suspects had the wind up. Ultimately, all fled the jurisdiction.
Abe and Ella remain beyond the reach of the law; Sabine has returned, but has never been legally called to account for her role in sharing the original videos of RD’s children, the police interview videos, nor the lists of named Hampstead residents.
And rather than things blowing over in a week or two, the case virtually exploded on the internet over the year that followed.
For many months now, vicious and/or deluded people have posted reams of inflammatory and illegal material online, claiming that the allegations against the people of Hampstead are true, and that action must be taken.
The internet is now littered with posts like this, which provide names and addresses, and ascribe gory and fantastical crimes to completely innocent people:
It’s easy to claim that people who write this sort of thing are only brave when they’re behind their keyboards, but the parents, teachers, and clergy of Hampstead have lived for 15 months with the knowledge that anyone at all could read material like this and decide to ‘do something’.
Would all this have been avoided if the police had reacted promptly and firmly in the very early days of the case?
That’s hard to judge; hindsight is cheap. But it’s probably fair to say that had Ella, Abe, and Sabine been apprehended early on, they’d have had far less opportunity to spread their lies as far and wide as they did. If they’d had to stand trial for their actions, they’d have been exposed much earlier as lying, scheming hoaxers.
While the case still might not have blown over in a week or two, it could have been more effectively contained—and dozens of people would not now be living in fear for themselves and their children.