On this last day of 2017, it seems as good a time as any to look back on the year that was.
Coming into 2017, the Hoaxtead mob was still reeling from a spate of arrests, which had placed a serious chill on the Hampstead SRA hoax. Following a series of leadership struggles, by the end of 2016 Kristie Sue Costa had emerged as the Voice of the Hoax, and as predicted, her stellar combination of pigheaded self-righteousness, inability to reason her way out of a wet paper bag in a rainstorm, and vindictiveness toward any who cross her have lent the hoax a distinct Trumpian feel.
In 2017, the clear winner for Event of the Year was the week-long trial of Rupert W. Quaintance, which ended in a guilty verdict on 30 August:
Rupert had been charged with five counts of Harassment 4; he was found guilty of two of them, and was sentenced to a nine-month prison sentence on each conviction, to run concurrently. In addition, he was given a criminal behavioural order which will be in force for five years; he was also assessed costs for the trial.
In his sentencing, Judge Griffith quoted U.S. president Harry S. Truman: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen”, referring to Rupert’s complaints that he had been trolled and harassed following making threats of harm to the parents of Hampstead. He noted the growing impact of the internet on people’s lives, and emphasised the importance of self-regulation and thoughtfulness when making posts online.
Despite an appeal against both the verdict and the sentence, Rupert remains incarcerated; his earliest date for release, assuming good behaviour on his part, will be in early January.
Although Rupert was only ever a minor player in the Hampstead hoax, his trial was a watershed moment, as it demonstrated that the courts can and will take online harassment just as seriously as they do the face-to-face variety.
In addition, Rupert’s case set an important precedent for any future online harassment cases: it showed that although the hoax targetted a group of people en masse, individuals within that group now had standing to claim that they had been harassed and put in fear, even if they were not explicitly named as targets. The fact that a list of the “alleged abusers'” names was found on Rupert’s computer, even though he was not acquainted with any of them individually, was deemed sufficient to show that he had intended to cause them fear and alarm.
Sabine has been charged with four counts of stalking causing fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, as well as 15 counts of breaching the restraining order which was imposed upon her in July 2016. Sabine spent more than a week in HM Prison Bronzefield while her friends scrambled to crowd-fund the £20,000 security required to grant her bail, and she will appear in court in early January. At that time we hope to learn the date of her 2018 trial.
It was felt by many that the court’s decision to impose a large security bond is an indicator of how seriously her current charges are being taken. We’ll certainly be following Sabine’s case very closely in the new year.
(We’re sure we need not remind our readers for the umpteenth time that it is illegal to speculate on the outcome of this or any other trial, but what the hell. We’ll say it anyway.)
The long arm of the law did not bypass Belinda McKenzie in 2017, either.
To everyone’s shock, including her own, the so-called “Teflon Lady of Highgate” was arrested on 16 March, and had her computers and phones seized for investigation by police. Belinda has made many dark references since her arrest, implying that she expects to be stitched up at any moment, and suggesting that “the shadow people” are out to get her. However, to our knowledge she has not been charged with any crime yet.
We believe that this was Belinda’s first arrest, and it does appear to have rattled her. Usually she manages to remain just barely on the right side of the law, while her minions take the heat—so while Belinda’s arrest may or may not lead to actual charges, we think it ranks up there among the year’s important events.
Ella’s admission that she made her children lie
If it weren’t for all the arrests and trials and such, Ella’s admission to California-based troofer Nathan Stolpman that she had falsely accused her eldest son, her ex-husband, and his current wife of being Satanic child-abusing baby-murdering cannibals would have been right at the top of this year’s “best of 2017” list.
In the course of trying to weasel out of one question (why did Ella not notice that her ex-husband and ex-partner both had gigantic “cult” tattoos in places which a sexual partner might be expected to notice?) Abe blurted out that RD didn’t get his tattoo until after he’d left Ella, thus back-pedalling on the children’s claim that the so-called cult was “generational” in nature, and that all its members received their tattoos when they were very young.
And even more important, Ella told Nathan that Mr Draper wasn’t actually in the cult after all:
(S)he mentioned that Mr. Draper, her ex-husband, was also involved with the cult, the Satanic cult. I’ve spoken with her now since and asked her about it and she says now she doesn’t believe that was the case and that was maybe something she was prompted into coming up with at the time when she was under duress.”
This created a gigantic gaping hole in the hoax, as both RD’s children had clearly claimed on the videos they were forced to make that their half-brother was “in the cult” and had abused them, and that Mr and Mrs Draper were cult VIPs, Mr D being the “cult financier”.
Ella’s admission has been studiously ignored by all the remaining Hoaxtead mobsters, but it’s clear to anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex that even she has begun to give up.
Our New Year’s resolution for 2018: we plan to remind the Hoaxtead mobsters of Ella’s admission at every possible opportunity. Please feel free to join us.
If 2017 was a year of legal breakthroughs and the final debunking of the hoax, we fearlessly predict that 2018 will bring further rounds of arrests and charges, as police and courts begin to realise that “do nothing, cover our ears, and wait for the nutters to go away” isn’t a realistic approach to protecting innocent people from the wackadoos online.
Sabine’s trial may bring the case back into public view, but to the chagrin of people like Deborah Mahmoudieh and Kristie Sue, it won’t win the Hoaxtead mob any new fans. Rather, it will underscore some of the issues which have been created by social media and the viralisation of false information, along with questions such as exactly where “freedom of speech” becomes harassment.
And through it all, we’ll be keeping close watch, keeping our readers informed, and encouraging lively debate…because some things don’t change, new year or not.
We’d like to wish all our readers a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year. We think it’s going to be a good one.