As a few of our readers suggested the other day, it would be ideal if this blog had a landing page for newcomers. Sadly, the version of WordPress that we use doesn’t accommodate such fripperies, so we’ve decided to make do with a page titled “New to Hoaxtead?”
On it, we’ve included the following précis of the Hampstead SRA hoax, to help bring newbies up to speed.
Here’s the text so far (and don’t worry, we’re still busily incorporating readers’ suggestions into the “How we know it’s a hoax” page):
If you’re new to the Hampstead SRA hoax, or if you remember reading about it when it was in the news in early 2015 but now cannot recall the details, this page is a good place to start.
The Hampstead hoax, nicknamed “Hoaxtead”, can seem very complicated, and as time has gone on, more people have become involved in attempting to promote it. On this page, we’ll try to boil it down for you. For more detail on each element of the hoax, you can click on the highlighted text.
If you’d like to delve even further, please check out our FAQ section, on the far right of the menu bar at the top of the page. And please don’t hesitate to ask questions! We’re happy to help.
Start with the High Court judgement
The best place to start looking into the hoax is the High Court judgement which was brought down by Mrs Justice Anna Pauffley on 19 March 2015. The judgement offers a very comprehensive overview of what was alleged, and why those allegations were found to have been false.
It’s a long judgement, but it’s fascinating reading, and will give you a good grounding in how the case began.
Ella Gareeva Draper, a Russian woman living in Hampstead, London, is the mother of three children. She has a son, now a young adult, from her marriage to Mr Draper; and two children, a girl and a boy, from her live-in relationship with Ricky Dearman.
In early September 2014, these two children, called “P” and “Q”, were recorded on a series of smartphone videos claiming that they were part of a group of 20 “special” children from Hampstead who had been sexually abused and made to abuse one another as part of a cult in which there was significant paedophile activity. The cult was said to be widespread, but the “main action” took place at Christchurch Primary School and in the church adjacent to it.
The children alleged that:
- Babies were supplied from all over the world. They were bought, injected with drugs, and sent by TNT or DHL to London to be abused, tortured, and sacrificed.
- The babies’ throats were slit, blood was drunk, and cult members would then dance wearing 20 babies’ skulls apiece on their bodies.
- Cult members wore shoes fashioned out of baby skin. The shoes were made in a shoe repair kiosk in the local tube station.
- The children were anally abused by adult cult members using “plastic willies”.
- Another venue was East Finchley swimming pool, where more than 30 adults and children would crowd into the disabled persons’ toilet to sexually abuse the children.
- Rituals were performed in an upstairs room at the McDonald’s restaurant. Babies were prepared, cooked in the ovens in a secret kitchen, then eaten by cult members.
The children alleged that their father, Ricky Dearman, was the “boss” of the cult. They also named various teachers from their school, the priest at the adjacent church, a large number of named parents of the “special children”, social workers, CAFCASS employees, police officers, and their older brother (their mother’s son from a previous marriage).
Mrs Justice Pauffley stated in the 19 March 2015 judgement:
I am entirely certain that everything Ms Draper, her partner Abraham Christie and the children said about those matters was fabricated. The claims are baseless. Those who have sought to perpetuate them are evil and / or foolish.
All the indications are that over a period of some weeks last summer , P and Q were forced by Mr Christie and Ms Draper, working in partnership, to provide concocted accounts of horrific events. The stories came about as the result of relentless emotional and psychological pressure as well as significant physical abuse. Torture is a strong word but it is the most accurate way to describe what was done to the children by Mr Christie in collaboration with Ms Draper.
The children were made to take part in filmed mobile ‘phone recordings in which they relayed a series of fabricated satanic practices. Subsequently, at the instigation of Abraham Christie and Ella Draper, the children repeated their false stories to Jean-Clement Yaohirou, Mr Christie’s brother in law, in a late night discussion. It lasted for about three hours; Mr Christie and Ms Draper did most of the talking.
P and Q were ABE (Achieving Best Evidence) interviewed on 5, 11 and 17 September 2014. On the first two occasions, they supplied information about events they claimed had occurred, similar in their overall content to the mobile ‘phone video clips and audio recording. On 17 September, in ABE interview, both children withdrew their allegations. Each stated they had been made to say things by Abraham Christie, the mother’s partner, which were not true; and they gave very full details of the way in which he had secured their compliance.
Abraham Christie is a small-time criminal who has approximately 36 convictions to his name, primarily for assault, forgery, fraud, and the like. He and Ella met in May 2014, and within a few weeks he had begun staying overnight at her house. He had several clashes with parents and staff at the children’s school.
In August 2015, Abe and Ella took the children to a house in the Moroccan countryside for a four-week vacation. During this time, with Ella’s tacit approval and assistance, Abraham interrogated the children relentlessly, claiming that their father had sexually abused them. Abe and Ella would wake the children at night to question them, and spent hours “brainstorming” the details of the alleged cult. When the children were reluctant to go along with the story they were concocting, Abraham beat them with a metal spoon, kicked them, hit them in the head, and threatened to bury them alive in the desert and leave them there.
En route from Morocco to London, Abe and Ella made videos of the children’s allegations. When they arrived in London on the evening of 4 September, Abe took the children to the home of Jean-Clement Yaohirou, a Special Constable with the London Metropolitan Police. Jean-Clement made a recording of what was said during that visit, and was concerned enough about its contents that he called Scotland Yard the next morning.
The police investigation
For an in-depth discussion of what happened during the police investigation, check out the FAQ here. The police description of the full investigation into the allegations originally made by P and Q is described in detail in the report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The investigating officers were led and overseen by Detective Inspector (DI) Cannon. DI Cannon is the head of the Barnet and Enfield Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT). Clearly such an allegation is taken very seriously and it was for this reason an officer of this rank oversaw the investigation.
Officers were immediately dispatched to your [Ella’s] home address. First accounts were taken from both your children who were aged 8 and 9. That same day evidential accounts were obtained using the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) process. It is through this process that your childrens’ accounts can be entered into evidence at any subsequent court proceedings.
Video accounts from the children made by Special Constable Yaohirou were also seized. This would be corroborative material to support your children’s ABE interviews.
Given the nature of the case it was raised to senior officers.
On Monday 8th September your children were driven around in an attempt to identify addresses where your children alleged the abuse had taken place. Although both children had previously indicated that they could identify the addresses where the alleged abuse had occurred and the address of their father, they were unable to identify any connected venues.
One address was pointed out to police but it did not contain the features described by the children. It was examined externally by officers. The children indicated that they had been taken on a “drive around” of the area the previous day (7th Sept 2014) by Mr Christie. The officers conducting the enquiry stated that the children were unsure of where they were going and seemed to be pointing out addresses at random.
Whilst I am sure you and Mr Christie may have believed that you were being helpful, the actions significantly undermined the integrity of the process to identify any potential suspect addresses.
I have reproduced a relevant section of DS Fernandez’s statement under caution response.
“The allegation of abuse was first recorded on 5 September 2014 on CRIS 2419891/14. Mr DEARMAN was identified as a Suspect following the first ABE of the children and research was conducted to locate him.
“Several addresses in London were identified as being linked to Mr DEARMAN and police attended these addresses with a negative result.
DC Martin in addition to this attempted to narrow the search by Use of Google maps again this was unsuccessful.
“Both Victims claimed that they had been to Mr DEARMAN’s address several times and could identify the premises which due to the late hour and the age of the Victims was not carried out that night.
“Before CAIT officers could arrange for the drive round to be conducted Mr ABRAHAM conducted his own drive round with the children using a taxi this was reported by a concerned member of the public. Both Ella DRAPER and Mr CHRISTIE did not inform police of this until they were challenged with the information”.
You will note the entry above makes reference to information which was received from concerned members of the public who called police. The members of the public describe seeing a female child and Mr Christie (on one occasion confirmed by CCTV). It was described that Mr Christie was saying that he had just been released from prison and was discussing decapitation. The girl appeared distressed.
Having viewed the CCTV, I am satisfied that it was Mr Christie taking your children around the area to identify potential addresses of relevance.
It is relevant to mention that members of the public describe a black male with a young girl approximately 6 to 8 years old. The male has been heard to say “You know she’s a baby killer. Then talking to the girl he has said “What do you do after you kill babies?” to which the girl replied “I eat them.” The male has then said “What do you do after you eat them?” to which the girl replied “I drink their blood”. The male has then said “What does your dad do to you?” to which she replied “sex”.
All of the officers on our Command are experienced child protection officers who have completed the Specialist Child Abuse Investigations Development Program and are registered practitioners on the National Professional Child Abuse Investigators’ register.
I believe that Mr Christie’s actions were extremely counterproductive from an investigative point of view as it could taint the integrity of any potential evidence that was to be forthcoming from your children. Officers are trained how to speak to and illicit (sic) information from children who may have been victims of abuse and the approach by Mr Christie was unhelpful to the investigation.
In the following days CAIT officers liaised with Children’s Social Care (CSC), education and health partners at formal strategy meetings regarding the children’s welfare. A strategy meeting was held on the 9th September. CAIT officers attended.
The children were further ABE interviewed on 11th September 2014. The male child described an incident when his father had taken him and his sister to a public swimming pool. The boy alleged that he had been taken to a disabled toilet where they were joined by twenty parents, a number of teachers and other children. Whilst in the toilet some of the adults touched his penis. He described a church where abuse took place. He stated that babies’ skulls were kept at the venue. His sister, in her interview, also described the church and spoke of a fridge where the bodies of dead babies were kept. She described a cupboard where babies’ skulls were kept.
The children also described being physically assaulted by Ms Draper’s partner, Mr Abraham Christie, the physical abuse taking place during a recent holiday in Morocco.
It is important to detail the entry above as it does require managing within the investigation and is another facet to consider from a safeguarding point of view.
You provided police with a Significant Witness statement. Following meeting you, the investigating officers expressed concerns for your mental health.
The children were placed in Police Protection (PP) on 11th September 2015. This followed the allegations of physical abuse by Mr Christie linked to serious concerns over your mental health and specifically your ability to protect your children. The primary role of our Command is the safeguarding of children and the actions of the officers were not taken lightly.
An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) was obtained soon after. Had the court formed a different view this would not have been granted. The children were placed into foster care outside London. The officers who took the children into PP described them as becoming relaxed and happy. They stated that they showed a change in attitude when told they were being taken into care. The officers believed that this was as a result of fear and dislike of Mr Christie.
I accept that this is the officers’ perception but as previously described the officers involved in this investigation are experienced qualified Child Abuse Investigators. The children retracted their allegations of ritualistic abuse in due course.
The children were medically examined on two occasions. Some scarring was found on the anus area of both children. The initial findings by the examining doctor, Dr Hoades (sic) were that the injuries were consistent with allegations of sexual abuse. The first Child Protection (CP) medical took place on the 12th Sept 2014. A verbal report was provided to police. The doctor described the injury but she did not report that the injury was consistent with sexual assault. She did, however, provide potential medical reasons for the injuries. Dr Hoades’ report was not received by police until the 8th January 2015.
The medical report also identified that the assault by Mr Christie resulted in your child having a perforated eardrum. I have placed this in the outcome report because this I believe would account for why the children appeared relieved when taken into police protection.
Due to the number of enquiries that were required officers were diverted from other child abuse investigations and it was necessary to cancel officers’ weekends to ensure essential enquiries progressed.
Action was taken in relation to crime scenes or potential crime scenes. Of note was the church which is beside your children’s school.
Below I have provided details from an email you sent regarding the potential offences that took place in the church.
“Ritual satanic child sexual abuse and sacrifice cult, serial murder.
Main action is happening in Christchurch with at least another 10, possibly more schools involved.
The baby sexual abuse and sacrifices are going on Tuesday, Wednesday (big sex day), Thursday.
There are 2 secret rooms in the church where they perform the rituals.
They first sexually abuse babies and the children, doing sex to boys bottoms and girls front private and bottoms. Adults get children to do oral sex.
Babies are supplied regularly for the rituals: abused, tortured with rat traps, dropped on the floor, then killed. They throat baby’s throat (sic), drain blood, drink the blood and then cook the body by either roasting or frying.
The meat is eaten by Mr Dearman, teachers, 20 special children and their parents.
Ritual involves special costumes: children wear 13 skulls (sometimes with blood and hair still on the skull), adults – 20, – on their bodies.
Everybody has 13 skulls worn around the neck (4), on breast, front private, belly, knees, elbows. Special children wear 10 skulls.
Your children alleged that babies had been sacrificed and baby skulls were kept at the venue. No evidence was found to support this. The children described a fridge where body parts were stored. A fridge was located but was in a common part of the church accessible to all who used the facility. No human remains were present. Officers reported that the description of the premises bore no resemblance to that described by the children. There were no secret chambers.
I have produced an extract from DS Fernandez statement under caution.
“A search at the church was conducted by DC MARTIN and DC FERNANDEZ and the description of secret rooms and draws were found to be wrong and impossible due to the very specific disclosure. a fridge in the church being used to keep the remains of dead babies which a nursery used but never reported, draws in the vestry which held dead babies skulls but were too shallow to hold the skull approx.2 inches deep.”
It should be noted that the church was not forewarned of police attendance and officers had full access to all of the church. In relation to the skulls being kept in a drawer there was only one set of drawers (vestment drawers). As such they were far too shallow to hold any skulls.
Obviously the church was a specific identified venue. Those at the church had no opportunity to be aware of police involvement or to remove or discard any evidence. Officers were able to search the whole of the church and it is clear that there was no evidence to support your children’s account and indeed evidence in the form of the drawers which clearly refuted what was being said.
On 15th September 2014 Mr Dearman was questioned under caution regarding the swimming pool incident. He stated that he took the children swimming on 5th July 2014. He confirmed that the family had used a larger sized cubicle. He described it as big enough for him and his two children. He denied any assault.
He denied the allegations that his children had made against him.
Mr Dearman stated that he had had limited access to his children in recent times. Access had been obtained by him via a court order. The officers did not seize Mr Drapers lap top but arrangements were made for it to be surrendered after he had copied work files.
In respect of the seizure of the laptop this will be addressed under Point 12.
On 16th September Dr Hoades conducted a second CP medical on behalf of CSC. Results were not available to the investigating team until the 8th January 2015. It should be noted that on numerous occasions officers requested a copy of the medical report but that this was not forthcoming.
A third ABE interview was carried out by officers on 17th September. The children had been in foster care for six days. En route to be interviewed and unprompted, both children stated that they had lied and made up the allegations. The children were asked not to discuss the matter further until it could be properly recorded.
In interview both children independently stated that they had lied about the allegations. They stated that Mr Christie had made them do so. They stated that they thought this was as a result of him finding them touching each other sexually whilst on the Moroccan holiday. The girl said she had ‘learned’ this behaviour from a girl in school, but Mr Christie insisted that her father had shown her.
On 22nd September the police investigation into the satanic allegations was closed for a number of reasons:
- The children had withdrawn their allegations and had stated that they had been made to lie by Mr Christie.
- Police enquiries found no corroborative evidence for the allegations.
- Venues described by the victims did not exist.
- No child interviewed by Children and Social Care, who had allegedly been involved in the abuse, made any allegations.
It should be noted that CSC did speak to children at your child’s school to establish if there were any safeguarding concerns in light of the allegations you had raised. It was felt that this was the most appropriate first course of action prior to police involvement given the age of the children. No child spoken to raised any concerns.
- Names of ‘suspects’ provided by the children were false.
Your children had provided names of police officers within the Metropolitan Police Service. Full research was conducted and it was found that no such officers existed.
With the withdrawal of the allegations there was no power to seize further property, search premises or arrest/interview others named.
The CAIT team consisted of one Detective Inspector, five Detective Sergeants and sixteen Detective Constables split into two investigation teams. The unit is responsible for day to day investigation of referrals of child abuse received from partner agencies within the Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield. Each officer carries a high workload. It is one of the busiest CAIT units in the MPS. The CAIT officers deployed on this case were still required to service the needs of their own workloads. Despite this all appropriate lines of enquiry were explored.
I am of the opinion that there came a point in this investigation when it was clearly established that the offences being alleged could not have taken place. In the face of this and the retractions from the children it would be disproportionate and wrong to continue any form of investigation. There would be no grounds to arrest any person or seize any property as there was no evidence to support that an offence had taken place.
The police investigation ended on 17 September 2014, as the children, now safely in foster care and away from Abe and Ella, retracted their original allegations.
Ella began legal proceedings to attempt to have the children returned to her.
In November 2014, she sacked her legal advisors and asked for assistance from an organisation called the Association of McKenzie Friends. Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie, notorious for their roles in various family court cases, began to assist Ella. When it began to look as though the children would not be returned to their mother, Sabine released the videos of the children to Henry Curteis, a conspiracy theorist who runs The Tap Blog. He published the videos, which quickly went viral on the internet. By the time the Pauffley judgement was released, it was estimated that more than 4 million people had viewed the videos. That number would continue to rise.
In response to a court order demanding that both Ella and Sabine remove any and all publications about the case from the internet, and that they cease identifying either the children or their father, both women fled the country: Sabine bolted to her native Germany, where she would spend the next few months with her nephew outside Berlin, while Ella and Abraham ran away when the police came to Ella’s house to ask her about the material she had allowed to be released online.
As usual, if you’d like us to add anything that you think would help a newcomer get a better grasp on the case, please let us know!