Now that it’s all over but the shouting, we feel it’s time to reveal some of the interesting and/or amusing titbits observed and recorded by our intrepid reporter during the Rupert Quaintance trial last week.
As we noted on Day 1 of the trial, our reporter arrived early, and was fortunate enough to overhear a longish conversation between Belinda McKenzie, her friend Neil, and Rupert. Troofers in the wild, as it were.
Here are some highlights (or lowlights, depending):
I’m sitting in the hallway, and it’s not as though I’m spying—Belinda, her friend, and Rupert are chatting quite loudly, and don’t seem to notice me at all. Ah, well.
Rupert says, “I don’t want to go back to Charlottesville….I’ve got about 250 friends there, and they’re all psychologically damaged in some way”. Gosh, thanks. I bet they speak very highly of him, too.
A bit later, he remarks, “I don’t even know how it got this far….I was willing to walk away from this thing and drop it, but they’re not going to”. (By “they” I assume he means the CPS?) (Also, it was big of him to say he’d walk away, but sadly that’s not how these things generally work.) (Does he have any idea what’s really going on? Seems iffy.)
The three of them pass a bit of time discussing English accents and the interesting cultural life in Erith, where Rupert has been staying while he awaits trial. He seems to believe that it’s a “rite of passage” for people in that community to “run around in the streets huffing ether”. Um, okay.
Oh, and he doesn’t think much of the cleanliness of London streets, either. Nice to hear.
The conversation turns back to Rupert’s trial: Belinda remarks that it can be “very difficult to prove” cases like this, and Rupert says, with some satisfaction, that he has managed to get no fewer than 16 character references, which will be read in court. (Interestingly, only four of these references were actually read in court, and when he delivered the verdict Judge Griffith seemed unimpressed, noting that the person described in the character references seemed to bear no resemblance to the person standing before him in the dock. Ah, well. Nice try.)
We’ve been waiting out here for some time, with lawyers bustling up and down the hall. Neither Belinda and friend nor Rupert seem to really know what’s going on. That makes four of us.
Belinda says, “If this were a solid case, they wouldn’t be having all these delays”. She says she thinks there’s no real evidence of Rupert’s guilt; Rupert perks up visibly at this.
Rupert’s barrister stops to speak with them, and they head off down the hall, speaking quietly together. When Rupert returns, he tells Belinda that both sides are working to “whittle the case down a bit”.
Then Rupert says something rather extraordinary: he announces, “I would say anything I have to, to get out of this. I would call my mother a whore on television”.
I am too stunned to record Belinda’s response to this.
Did he actually just say it? Is this some sort of bizarre Americanism that Brits just don’t get? Does Rupert understand that he will be speaking under oath once he’s in court? The mind boggles.
Back to my note-taking: Rupert has bounded back off down the hall, and Belinda is saying to Neil that “if this thing has any legs at all, which it hasn’t”, the best defence will be to use the threats made against Rupert to explain his behaviour to the jury. It’ll be important, she says, to make it clear “just who was really in fear of violence”.
Then, apparently speaking of Hoaxtead Research, she says, “They’ve clumped together, you know, and they produce these sorts of things…they’ve been at it for months and months….He’s suffered much more than their side”. I can’t hear Neil’s response. I know what mine would be.
Belinda continues: “This is a little coterie of Satanists…they close ranks, and they’re operating like bullies. They’re all going to be targetted because of their relationship with Satan, and they want to get their revenge”. Frankly, I’m having trouble following this line of reasoning, but Neil seems to agree with her. Whatever you say, Belinda old trout.
They talk about why no one seems to have turned up to represent the parents’ side, and Belinda explains, “Possibly (the officer in charge) will have tipped them off, because don’t forget, he’s in the gang”. She continues: “There’s a much higher number of perpetrators, of course, but sixteen of them are serving members of the police”. Oh, right, how could we forget the old “the police are in on it” argument?
She explains to Neil that there are, of course, an additional 70 parents involved. Neil responds, “Yes, there’s little point in over-inflating the facts to make the case….It’s already so incredible”. Yup. He really said that. I must take a sip of my coffee to keep from choking.
None of them seem to have twigged that I am shamelessly eavesdropping, which frankly surprises me. But I guess you don’t get to be the mastermind of an SRA hoax like Hoaxtead by sweating the details.
Oh, hang on, I think I spoke too soon. Neil seems to be saying something in a low voice, and they’re all looking at me now. Busted? Looks that way.
Ah well, they’re Tannoying the case, time to head into the courtroom. Let the trial begin!
Yr faithful scribe