Over the past couple of weeks we’ve spelled out exactly how the Hampstead SRA hoax went from a police investigation to an online firestorm. In November 2014 when Ella Draper sacked her second solicitors, then rehired them, then sacked them again (all in the same day, we’ve heard), she turned to Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie to act as her McKenzie friends in court. We’ve already talked about how Sabine attempted to blackmail the courts with threats that she would refrain from “exposing this scandal” in exchange for the return of the two children to Ella. We’ve shown that this cynical ploy on her part revealed that she was very well aware that she was promoting a complete hoax, a fabrication with absolutely no substance behind it. And we’ve shown how she released the videos of the children via links to her Google Drive, which she attached to the email she sent then-Home Secretary Theresa May, as well as to the Change.org petition.
By late December/early January 2015, Sabine had prepared her first “press release”. Clearly she was already preparing to take the case public, despite the fact that it was still before the courts. As with all of Sabine’s statements, this one contains smatterings of truth mixed into a stew of lies.
Yes, the children “confessed the most harrowing details” whilst on holiday in August 2014…after they had been beaten, smothered, kicked, woken in the middle of the night for questioning, and threatened with being buried alive in the desert if they did not cooperate. Yes, the little boy’s hearing was impaired…as a result of being hit on the side of the head by his mother’s new boyfriend. Yes, hair samples were taken…and revealed that the children had been fed cannabis. And so on.
By the time the hoax burst onto the internet on 2 February, it had already been some months in the making.
There’s an old saying, probably incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. Whether Mr Twain said it or not, it’s especially apt these days, as the internet acts as a gigantic megaphone. The public face of the Hampstead SRA hoax had been carefully prepared, the scene set, the lies spelled out, so that by the time those with an interest in the truth could even find their shoes, let alone start putting them on, the hoax promoters were miles and miles ahead of them.
For those who were callously targetted by the hoax—the parents, teachers, clergy, and businesses of Hampstead—these bizarre allegations struck like a bolt from a clear blue sky. For some, it took weeks or months to work out exactly what had happened, and why. It was during that time of shock and confusion that a few people began doing what we could to fight back: challenging the lies on YouTube, Facebook, and various online discussion forums. Some of us had been personally affected by the hoax, while others had never even been to Hampstead. After a few weeks of being mercilessly trolled, called “paedo enablers”, “shills”, “agents” and the like, we began to start groups online, where we could talk freely and compare notes. That’s where this blog originated: founded by Scarlet Scoop on 2 May 2015, it was the first public, organised attempt to oppose Hoaxtead’s lies.
Sabine, Belinda, Ella, and Abraham had months to prepare the hoax, push it into the public sphere, and launch an aggressive publicity campaign to support it. In its first month, an estimated 4 million people saw the videos of the children, or read versions of Sabine’s carefully constructed lies.
But while all that was happening, the truth was out shopping for just the right pair of shoes. We think we found them.