Sabine McNeill’s trial on 17 counts of breaching a restraining order and four counts of stalking continued today at Southwark Crown Court. Tana Adkin QC, defence, carried on her opening with Sabine in the witness box.
Adkin asked Sabine to clarify the status of her involvement with the criminal justice system during the early months of 2015. Having left the UK for Germany in mid-February, Sabine said that she had been informed by a person named Chris Alexander that there was an Interpol warrant out for her arrest.
Alexander had been introduced to her as a friend of Maurice Kirk. After informing her of the Interpol warrant, he offered to fly Sabine to the Philippines, an offer she refused.
“Was there an Interpol alert?” Adkin asked. Sabine said her solicitor had confirmed that there was.
Despite this, she returned to the UK on 4 August 2015, and was arrested at the Royal Courts of Justice during Ella’s appeal hearing, on 5 August. Sabine said she believed the police had been tipped off by a barrister in the proceedings.
“What were you arrested for?” Adkin asked. Sabine said she could not remember.
“Was it for harassment?” Adkin asked. Sabine said that if it was for harassment, nobody had been named as a victim.
“Was it for the Change.org posts?” Adkin asked.
Sabine insisted that she could not recall. “It was so dehumanising, so shocking!”
Noting that Sabine had been interviewed under caution, Adkin said her client had stated she’d “never uploaded a list of names, nor had she uploaded videos of the children”. Sabine agreed that this was true.
Asked what happened to the case, Sabine said that it had been discharged, as the police were unable to prove it. She learned on 12 December that it had been listed as “no further action” (NFA).
Adkin asked how this experience had affected Sabine.
“I was more aware of it in my body”, Sabine said, noting that she had felt a sense of horror and a fear of being imprisoned.
Turning to Sabine’s trial with Neelu Berry on charges of witness intimidation, Adkin said Sabine had been accused of posting online the names of a different set of witnesses to those seen at this trial. While the case had collapsed due to lack of evidence of conspiracy, a restraining order had been made.
“Had you been under bail conditions regarding this matter?” Adkin asked.
“The arrangements were made at one o’clock in the morning in January”, Sabine said.
Sabine was arrested again in the summer of 2016. However, she said, this had not been for harassment of this trial’s witnesses. Rather, it had been “always for the restraining order”.
She had been dealt with for a breach of restraining order via a German blog, to which she pleaded guilty on 17 October 2016.
“I was arrested because I sent details of my whistle-blower activities”, Sabine said, adding that she believed one of the witnesses in this trial had reported her breach.
“Did you know that anyone was monitoring you online?” Adkin asked. Sabine said she did not.
Adkin said Sabine had been arrested for a further breach in November 2016. At her police interview, she said that she had made “every effort” and that so far as she was aware, she had kept to the terms of the restraining order.
A further arrest occurred in January 2017. “Was this also for a breach?” Adkin asked.
“I must assume that”, Sabine said, adding that she did not know the name of the person who had reported her.
Sabine was charged with the matters in this case on 8 December 2017. She said this had had a detrimental effect on her, as she worried whether she would ever have a normal life again.
“Up to this time”, Adkin said, “you still had an online presence. You could blog and reblog. What changed in December?”
“I was taken to prison for the first time”, Sabine said. “The accumulated process of terror makes me not remember; I was in shock”.
“You went to prison for the first time in 2017, do you remember that?”
“I certainly do!”
She had stayed in prison for 10 days, and had bail conditions which included no internet access. Sabine said that she took her modem to a friend’s house, as evidence that she was not online. As of December 2017, she had no ability to post, to tweet, nor to search online.
Noting that a witness had said that Sabine had stopped posting online in February 2018, Adkin said it had actually been December 2017.
“Yes”, Sabine said. “I did not want to go to prison again”.
Turning to the events at the Church of England Synod in February 2018, Adkin asked Sabine how she had gone there.
“I had a phone call from Chris Alexander”, she said.
“Was this the same person who notified you of the Interpol alert?” Adkin asked. Sabine confirmed that it was.
“I don’t remember the trigger for the phone call”, she said, “but we started to discuss the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), and he told me that he had core participant status. I had registered this case with the IICSA as #47, although I had always asked them not to share the details with the police”.
Sabine said she had registered the Hampstead case in the early days of the IICSA, during the tenure of Dame Lowell Goddard, and that she wanted to know whether they had a policy for whistle-blowers such as herself. She said that although she had had email contact with Dame Goddard, she had been unable to determine her status vis à vis the Inquiry.
When Alexander called her, Sabine said he told her that two lawyers at Synod might be able to help her: David Greenwood and Richard Scorer. This is why Sabine had attended Synod.
“Were you going to publicise the Hampstead allegations there?”
Sabine said the problem was that she did not know what the demonstration would be about, so she sought out Alexander, who had said he would be involved in facilitating it. However, she was unable to find him.
“Did you know anything about him?” Adkin asked.
Sabine said that after the event she had asked Maurice Kirk about Alexander. Kirk had told her not to get involved with him.
At Synod, Sabine said she spoke to Greenwood, and handed him a paper document, titled “Hounded as an Online Whistle-Blower”.
Adkin asked whether she had also given him an article by Dr Linda Stalley on the topic of Satanic ritual abuse.
“I don’t remember, sorry”, said Sabine.
She had met Richard Scorer, but only very briefly. She also met Heather Reed over lunch. She said that she had spent much of her time at Synod trying to work out what was happening, and trying to determine who she ought to talk to.
Sabine said her intention at Synod had been to determine the veracity of claims against one church in this huge organisation of churches.
Adkin asked Sabine about a document in evidence which contained links to the blogs DDH, HampsteadChristChurch, and Hoaxtead Satanic Experience. “Was this yours?”
“Absolutely not!” Sabine said.
“Did you have links from your blog to DDH or HampseadChristChurch?” Sabine said she had, but that Jake Clarke had made the leaflet.
She described Clarke as an “amazingly spiritual and naïve person” whom she had met at her trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in 2016. He had also come to Synod.
“Why was he there?” Adkin asked.
“I told him about it”, Sabine said, adding that he has suffered for his commitment to the Hampstead matter. “He has been sectioned, but he always feels for the children”.
Asked why she had told him about Synod, Sabine said, “Just in case he was interested”. However, she said that they had arrived separately, that he was completely independent of her, and that she had not produced any documents for him.
Adkin asked Sabine why she had not wanted to speak publicly at Synod.
“Because I was not supposed to!” Sabine said.
She said she had received another call from Alexander after Synod, but this time he told her undercover police had discovered her presence at the event, and that “they’ve got you” for distributing leaflets there. He told her, “We must make a plan”, but then hung up suddenly. She kept texting him, but he did not respond.
The next day, Sabine was required to attend the police station, where she gave an interview. She was arrested the following Sunday.
“I was trembling, shaking”, she said. She was taken to the police station, then to court. Adkin asked what she understood the allegations against her to be.
Sabine said the police had said she’d been distributing leaflets, which was not true; they said she had upset the organisers. “I got the impression that they had conflated what Jake and I were doing”.
“At this time, were you aware that the allegations had come from someone called Chris Hernandez, also known as Christopher Ebbs?” Adkin asked.
Sabine said she had not known that Hernandez was the same person as Chris Alexander.
Turning to Sabine’s contact with the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), Adkin asked Sabine why she had called them.
Sabine said she had just heard from Alexander/Hernandez, and that she had called Julian Whiting, a person she had met at Synod, who had suggested she might benefit from pastoral counselling.
Whiting had called the CCPAS on Sabine’s behalf, and got Susan Stevens from that organisation to call her back. During her conversation with Stevens, Sabine told her about her experience at Synod, and told her that she had been trapped for something she hadn’t done.
“Did you tell her the matter had been referred to the police?” Adkin asked.
“I don’t remember”, said Sabine.
Asked what outcome she had hoped for, Sabine said that she had been to churches in London, and that she felt a real spiritual connection with the church. “So I couldn’t understand being let down by a church!” she said.
She said that she had expected her call to be treated with confidentiality, because CCPAS was a church-based organisation; she had not expected the police to be involved.
Adkin said that this concluded her opening, and court adjourned for a brief break.
Miranda Moore QC opened her cross-examination of Sabine by noting that she had not been wholly truthful in describing her bail conditions in December 2017.
She pointed out that Sabine had been granted bail by the court in December, and that one condition was that Sabine had to surrender her internet connection, as well as provide a financial security. Sabine agreed that this was the case.
“Because you could not meet that condition, you were in custody”, Moore said, noting that Sabine had crowdfunded the £20,000 security. “That £20,000 was never yours”, she said.
“£5,000 of it was”, Sabine said.
“But you breached your bail, didn’t you?” Moore asked. “The one you admitted in court?”
“I don’t remember”, said Sabine.
“You were granted bail on several occasions, and you breached and breached and breached. Do you accept that you’d breached your bail condition, and that’s why you were taken into custody?”
“I don’t remember, I’m terribly sorry”, said Sabine.
“The reason you were in custody was all of your own making”, Moore said.
Sabine said she would not describe it that way.
“You have no medical qualification, no psychological qualification, no legal qualification”, said Moore. “But you are a highly trained computer professional, is that right?”
“I don’t know how you would define that”, said Sabine.
“While you were on bail, you were trying to get access to the internet because you wanted to build more sites”, Moore said.
“No”, said Sabine.
“Really?” said Moore. “You know I have documents.”
Sabine said she did not know which documents Moore was talking about. Moore read aloud from one of Sabine’s blogs, in which Sabine described using Twitter to publish what she does on WordPress, using Facebook to cross-refer—or publish—and using her WordPress blogs to publish to Twitter and Facebook.
“Twitter doesn’t go back to WordPress”, Sabine said.
“But you do tweet”, said Moore. “And when you tweet, you link to WordPress”.
“Not necessarily”, Sabine said. “When I tweet, I am saying something in less than 140 characters. When WordPress tweets, it turns the title of the post into a link”.
Moore turned to the beginning of Sabine’s relationship with Ella Draper in autumn 2014. “You came to know her as a McKenzie friend”, she said. “A McKenzie friend is supposed to assist in the legal process, but cannot act as a lawyer without the consent of the court”.
“I thought McKenzie friends acted when and as required”, Sabine said.
“What are a McKenzie friend’s duties of confidentiality?” asked Moore.
“To keep the proceedings private”.
“To keep documents private?” Moore asked.
“To keep videos private?”
“Not since we decided not to do so”, said Sabine.
“Did Ella Draper decide to go public?” Moore asked. “What about other documents online? What about the medical reports?”
Sabine said she had “not consciously” released those online.
“Did you have her permission?”
“She had left the country”, Sabine said.
Sabine said that at the time, permission had not been a priority.
“Did you have permission to put the class list online?” asked Moore.
“Not consciously”, said Sabine.
“What about the police videos?”
“We had no more communication”.
“So no permission”, Moore said. “You put up links to put documents which were private to the case online”.
“She saw what I was doing, and she never objected”, Sabine said.
“No, you had no permission, but you didn’t stop afterward,” said Moore.
“Sure, if you want to put it that way”.
Moore said, “You knew you were not supposed to put private information online, so you went to the court to see if you could get that overturned”,
Sabine said she had been on her way to Berlin, and had wanted to see if she could get permission from the court to share material online.
Moore pointed out that Sabine had attended two court hearings at Barnet Court, and that they had asked her to return all the documents in her possession, including the videos. “Tell us what you were asked to do”.
“All I remember was that it said ‘penal notice’ and threatened imprisonment”, Sabine said.
Moore said that the court order had laid out what would happen if Sabine did not do what the court told her to.
“I don’t remember”, said Sabine.
“Before Christmas 2014, you had decided to do what you wanted, rather than what the court wanted”, Moore said.
“That’s an interpretation”, said Sabine.
“Had you decided to ignore the court orders?”
“All I know is that I was threatened with prison”, said Sabine. “My response was to apply to set aside the ruling”.
“Your response was to leg it out of England”, Moore said.
Sabine admitted this was true.
Moore noted the document drafted by Sabine on 14 November 2014.
“I did not draft that”, said Sabine.
Moore said that it had been found on her computer, and that the “author” was listed as Sabine McNeill.
“I did not draft it”, said Sabine. “I got it from Ella”.
“You typed it out”, countered Moore.
“No”, said Sabine. “I took Ella’s document, and I edited and saved it”.
“It was beautifully edited”, Moore said. “This is of your making”.
“I object to your assumptions that I drafted it”, said Sabine.
“You put it into paragraphs, you formatted it, and you added the hyperlinks”, said Moore. Sabine agreed that she had.
“And to get the details in this document, you were provided with the class list”.
Sabine said she had got the information in the document from Ella.
Moore said, “She said she believed the information in that list came from the children, but that is not true”.
“I never knew that that was a class list until I saw the court bundle”, Sabine said.
“What about the earlier bundles?” Moore asked, noting that during her trial with Neelu Berry, Sabine had received bundles, including material from another Christ Church Primary School parent.
“Look at that class list”, Moore said, pointing out that the name of that parent and their child were listed there—a parent who complained that Sabine had made her life a misery.
Sabine acknowledged that this was true.
“So when you told the jury yesterday, ‘why was I not told that these people were affected? Why only today?’, that was a lie”, Moore said.
“I’m sorry, I don’t accept that”, said Sabine.
Moore said that the first time Sabine became aware of the damage she had caused was when HHJ Anna Pauffley released her 19 March 2015 judgment.
“This affected me on a different level”, Sabine said.
“Did you see how your actions affected people?” Moore asked.
Sabine said, “I did not take them in”.
“Well, you’re going to take it in now”, Moore said. “I’m going to show you”. By the time the judgment was made public, more than four million people had seen the P and Q videos. “And the videos got onto the internet through your actions”.
“Not directly”, said Sabine. “There was one email”.
“There was one petition making them available”, Moore corrected her. “And one email publicising the petition”.
“I prefer to call it ‘making them accessible'”, said Sabine, saying she had done this in good faith.
“Just to be clear”, Moore said, “before you got your hands on the videos they had no titles. You put titles on them. Those videos emanated from you”. She added that Sabine had also admitted to putting the police videos and documents containing intensely personal information online.
Sabine objected to this framing, but Moore said, “It’s not me saying this, it’s Judge Pauffley. You opened the box to allow information onto the internet”.
Sabine said she could not read the Pauffley judgment. “You clearly have no idea where I was at, where I was coming from”, she said.
Moore asked whether she had read it now. Sabine said she had. Moore pointed out that the judgment was shared on the Whistleblower Kids site, as well as on Sabine’s Google Drive.
Moore read from the judgment:
“It is inevitable that a large proportion of those have a sexual interest in children. Any rational adult who uploads film clips to Youtube featuring children speaking about sexual activity must be assumed to realise that fact”.
“Yes, but I had not the slightest idea this could happen”, Sabine said. “This was one of the shocks!”
“It didn’t cross your mind that paedophiles would find this exciting?” asked Moore. “What did you think those four million people were doing?”
“How should I know?” Sabine asked.
“You did get criticism at an early stage”, Moore noted.
“I don’t remember”.
“Really?” Moore said people had complained about Sabine’s use of the children’s real names. “But it didn’t matter to you. You plastered their names all over the internet. When you read the judgment, did you think, ‘Oh my God, what have I done?'”
“I am terribly sorry”, said Sabine, “but I don’t remember every emotion I felt when I read the judgment”.
“Did you think you shouldn’t have done it?”
“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t”, said Sabine. “I’m terribly sorry, but I don’t know”.
“After the judgment, did you think it might be a good idea to remove the material?” asked Moore.
Sabine said she had not. “The damage was done. The children were gone”.
Moore said, “Your campaign was designed to get the children back to Ella”.
“Yes”, said Sabine.
“The actions you took were to get the children returned”, said Moore. “So you tried to blackmail Judge Pauffley, to expose, expose, expose”.
“I don’t think I used that term in the position statement”, Sabine said.
“You made it clear that if Pauffley didn’t return the children, your campaign would go on”.
“No, the campaign would start”, said Sabine.
“Having tried to blackmail Pauffley and failed, you launched a campaign”, Moore replied. “Look at paragraph 5”:
In the period before 13 January 2015, there had been some relatively limited online publication of court and other relevant material. It had been my hope that after discussion with the mother and her McKenzie Friend on 13 January, there would have been withdrawal of material from the internet. Since about 26 January the volume posted in a variety of formats on different sites has increased markedly; and the claims made against the father, the children’s former head teacher, other teachers, professionals and a very large number of parents at the children’s former school have proliferated.
“Unfortunately I don’t remember the details”, said Sabine.
“‘The volume has increased markedly'”, said Moore. “This was due to your activity”.
“Because I set up the petition”, said Sabine.
“You told the jury you had no idea you were causing problems”, said Moore. But Pauffley said, ‘Many of those individuals are now living in fear because they have been identified on the internet as abusers of children and their contact details including telephone numbers, home and email addresses have been published.‘”
“Unfortunately for me”, said Sabine, “there is a huge difference between seeing it here, and reading this. It has only sunk in now, and I have been crying bitter tears because of it. Why did nobody tell me?”
“Did you want to see people cry in court?” Moore asked. Reading from the Pauffley judgment, she said, “‘Lives have been disrupted. Several of those implicated have received malicious, intimidating ‘phone calls and emails at all hours of the day and night from all over the world. For example, “Hey cock. We’re coming for you. You scum paedo.'”
“I’m sorry, I come from a different perspective altogether”, Sabine said.
Moore asked what her perspective is.
“It’s the whole situation”, Sabine said. “The mother came back, and we couldn’t get the children. I had given a voice to voiceless children. It was about believing children. I was not thinking about paedos out there on the internet, I’m terribly sorry”.
Court adjourned for lunch following this exchange, and resumed at 2:00 p.m.
Noting that she had asked Sabine previously about Ella Draper’s consent to publish the videos and other material online, Moore said, “You said that she had never told you to take it down”. She read an email from Ella, dated 8 February 2015:
Following yesterday’s meeting and discussion of your decision to post the videos and other material online and share this information with parties unknown to me after I explicitly asked you not to do so on at least two separate occasions: during the Saturday meeting at 31.01.15 and also during private telephone conversation please be kind enough to return all my children’s case material, including all videos, documents.
I much appreciate all the work and assistance you’ve provided for me so far and you are welcome to participate on the condition that you will consult with me and the group before making such decisions in the future.
Moore said Sabine’s response was to say she was “nicely miffed now”, and that “I did not publish anything, I just blind copied one blogger in my email to Theresa May. Victims are their own worst enemy, after all. If Abraham wants to run the show, let him. Our ‘group’ does not include him”.
“You were asked to return the children’s material”, Moore said. “You are not disagreeing?” Sabine said she was not.
Nor did she disagree with Moore’s assertion that it had been her decision to post the videos, or with the fact that Ella had told her not to make the videos public.
“You chose not to give it back”, Moore said.
“I don’t know what I felt”, said Sabine, adding that she had never seen Ella as a client. She said that McKenzie friends do their work for free.
“But you were seeking to raise money”, Moore said.
“I beg your pardon!” said Sabine.
Moore pointed out that on the Whistleblower Kids blog sidebar, Sabine had a PayPal button. “Have you received money into this ‘victims’ fund’?” she asked.
“No”, said Sabine.
“I don’t think so”.
“Has your PayPal account received any money?” Moore asked.
Sabine said she was not aware that it had. “I may have put a button on my site”, she said.
Moore drew her attention to the PayPal button, with text reading, “Could you feed the victims’ fund to support a whistle-blower”. “Who is the whistle-blower?” she asked.
“Me”, said Sabine.
“So if someone clicked to donate…”
“Yes, but it hasn’t happened”, said Sabine, adding that PayPal sends a notification when money is received.
“You never received any money at any time from anybody?” Moore asked.
“If I received money from PayPal I don’t remember”, said Sabine.
Moore asked Sabine to clarify her relationship with Ella, if she was not her client.
Sabine said she only took on the case because it was too big for one person.
“But what was your relationship with Ella?” Moore persisted. “Were you McKenzie friend and client? Mates?”
Sabine said she called her her “protegée”.
“When she asked for her material back, you chose to keep it”, Moore said. “On 8 February 2015, your relationship with Ella came to an end”.
“No, we called several times”, said Sabine.
“To ask for her papers back?”
Sabine said that with both her and Ella out of the country, they had been unable to do much.
“While you were out of the country, you suggested painting the Barbie dolls”, Moore said.
“No”, said Sabine. “I saw a post saying to do it. I shared and passed someone else’s idea on”.
“You promoted it”, said Moore.
“No, I got it from the Meetup site that I set up and then took down”.
Moore asked why she had taken the site down, and Sabine said she had received negative comments on it.
“It’s not nice receiving negative comments, is it?” Moore asked.
“I got a million more that were positive”, Sabine said.
“Did the nasty comments make you feel vulnerable?”
“I found it strange”, said Sabine, adding that she’d been upset when she got nasty comments.
“Accusing you of things you hadn’t done”, Moore said.
Sabine said she’d taken down the Meetup site because it didn’t look or feel right.
“From Germany, you promoted the May petition”, said Moore. “And that had links to P and Q and the other children”.
“I don’t remember”, said Sabine.
“And in amongst those were the contact details of all the parents”.
“I’m terribly sorry”, said Sabine. “I am too overwhelmed. I don’t recall when and where things were put”.
“We know the list was at all times on your Google Drive”, Moore said. Sabine agreed.
“And while you were in Germany, you were asked to take it down”.
“But you didn’t”.
“I wish I had”, said Sabine. She said she did not recall when she had put the list into her DropBox.
“You said you were worried about children”, Moore said. “How does posting the personal phone numbers and email addresses protect children?”
“It doesn’t”, said Sabine. “This is my huge mistake, and I apologise”.
Moore said that Sabine says she’s sorry now, but that Pauffley had pointed all of this out in her judgment in early 2015.
“It took me a long while”, said Sabine. “Reading it on paper is different from reading it onscreen”.
“Pauffley made it clear that this was having a devastating effect on people’s lives”, Moore said. “People were living in fear. What’s not to understand?”
“I’m trying to think why it didn’t occur to me to rush and take it off”, said Sabine.
“It was never taken off over the course of eight arrests”, Moore said.
Sabine said that when she’d been arrested it had not been pointed out to her that the list was online. “I feel very confused in the way things are now”, she said. “I end up feeling very confused over things. This is all four years ago, and I have had nine months of utter trauma in prison…it’s all a bit too much”.
Moore pointed out that Sabine had been arrested for harassment at the Royal Courts of Justice in August 2015, and that the police had told her this and asked her if she understood the charge. At that time, Sabine claimed that she hadn’t posted the list of parents and children online.
Sabine said she would not have said that: “I don’t do lies”.
Moore said Sabine claimed that she had posted the list on a “private Google account”, and shared it “on request only”. “But that’s not true, is it? It was available to anybody who signed the petition—it could have been Paedophiles R Us”.
“‘On request’ means the person has to click through”, Sabine said.
Moore asked whether the videos were removed from her Google account by her, or by Google. Sabine said she didn’t know.
“You put it back, though”, Moore said. “We have heard evidence that they were there in 2015, 2016, 2017…and they are still there”.
Moore asked why the home-made videos had been put on Vid.me.
“Because Google deleted them”, said Sabine.
She said that she had reactivated her Google Drive because she wanted to “put it all aside”. “The church of ‘I believe the children’ was a lot more popular than the church of ‘I believe the father'”, she said.
“So you are saying the witnesses were child abusers?”
“No,” said Sabine, “but I will believe the two child witnesses until I die”.
“So if you believe the children until you die, then you believe that all the witnesses are child abusers”.
“I don’t know”, said Sabine.
“Are you saying that you believe everything that’s set out in the 11-page document?” Moore asked.
“I cannot tell which are innocent, or half-innocent, or guilty”.
Moore read out part of PC Wall’s transcript of one of Sabine’s arrest interviews, in which he asked her whether she understood that having the parents’ and children’s names and personal details online could put them in danger, and in fear. During that interview, she had answered “no comment” to most of his questions.
“Did you think he was making that up?” Moore asked.
“No, I was thinking that 20 police officers were named by the children”, Sabine said.
“Are you saying that Mr Martin sitting over there is part of the cover-up and is bent?” Moore asked.
“He left a child for 20 minutes on his own during an interview”, Sabine said. “I was highly suspicious. I was not thinking of the parents”.
“The parents didn’t matter to you, did they?”
“That’s not what I’m saying”.
Moore pointed out that there is no Satanic cover-up. “Did you see that putting up false allegations would cause them to fear for their safety?”
“I did not consider them false”.
“PC Wall made it clear to you that people’s lives were ruined”, Moore said.
Sabine said the petition had been taken down, but Moore pointed out that it had been taken down by one of the parents, who had complained to Change.org.
Nor, she said, did Sabine take any steps to remove material from the Whistleblower Kids blog.
“I had to overcome the shock of being arrested”, Sabine said. “Above all else, I would like to have seen a proper investigation by the police”.
Moore noted that Sabine had published the Pauffley judgment, along with critiques of it, so she must be fairly familiar with its contents. Sabine said she was most concerned with paragraphs 107 and 108.
Moore asked whether Sabine had heard the Jean-Clement Yaohirou audio, noting that Pauffley had said it offered a window into the pressure put on the children by Abraham Christie and Ella Draper. She read from the judgment:
Towards the end of the recording there is a passage when the children and Mr Christie are all shouting, excitedly, “Kill, kill, kill.” Mr Christie urges the children to “Say it… Say it how they say it.” A. “Kill, kill, kill.” …. Mr Christie, “What’s the word that you say?” A. “Kill.” Mr Christie, “Say it more for me. I want to hear it…. I like the sound of it. Can you say it together, say it, let’s all say it together.” There is then repeated chanting of the word “Kill” and a little later of the phrase, “Kill the baby.” Once more Mr Christie urges the children on saying, “Let’s say it together. Let’s say it together. Kill the baby.” And they do.
“I thought he was urging them to get it out of their system”, Sabine said.
“Do you have experience with children’s evidence?” Moore asked.
“No, all I know is that children are more believable than adults”, Sabine said. “There was not much reason not to believe. Children can be heard, they should be heard”.
“The children told the police they were tortured”, Moore said.
“That was an exaggeration”, said Sabine. “I don’t want to go into how bad Mr Christie is, but I cannot believe only he was abusive to the children”.
On Mr Christie’s and Ms Draper’s own account, the children were subjected to ten separate interrogations over a period of four weeks interspersed with ‘brainstorming’ sessions in which Mr Christie and Ms Draper came up with or worked out what they – and possibly the children – put forward as having happened. In the context of what P and Q later describe was done to them by Mr Christie in that four week period, it is clear that they were effectively persecuted so as to compel them to tell false stories.
Moore read paragraphs 107–108 in the judgment, which state,
It is a curious fact that prior to the launch of these proceedings, no police officer had listened to the audio recording made by Jean Clement Yaohirou or watched the film clips of the children. DI Cannon made inquiries at my request to discover that DC Rogers, the member of his team who received the film clips and the audio recording from Mr Yaohirou, had sent them to a property store in Chingford. The focus would appear to have been upon arranging almost immediate ABE interviews.
I say no more at this stage than that the police and social services inquiry could have taken an entirely different course if attention had been given to those recordings. At the very least, the questions asked of P and Q at interview would have been directed towards other areas of interest.
“She is saying that had they listened to the Yaohirou audio during the police investigation, they would have turned their attention to Ella and Abraham”, Moore said.
“Yes, that’s what had been decided at the strategy meeting months earlier”, said Sabine, referring to the meeting between police and social services during the investigation. They had got together to “frame Abraham”, she said.
“‘Frame’? Could we suggest ‘arrested’?” Moore asked. She noted that when a number of police turn up at one’s door, “That’s a clue”.
“But the fact that the police officer concealed evidence”, Sabine said, “the fact that the father and Abraham were not arrested…I only heard the story from Ella. She said a police official admitted to concealing critical evidence. And Pauffley admitted things could have been different”.
Pauffley heard the evidence, Moore pointed out.
In addition, Ella’s parents had stated that they believed their daughter’s allegations to be nonsense.
Sabine said she had been told that the grandparents were forced to sign a document saying they agreed with the judgment, or they wouldn’t get to see the children. “I don’t know what they said”, she added.
“Well, you do now”, Moore said.
Moore pointed out that Sabine had been enthusiastic about Rupert Quaintance’s visit to the UK, and had encouraged his activities while he was here. Sabine denied that she had encouraged him, but Moore pointed to her comments on his GoFundMe page: “I truly look forward to your London activities”.
At this point court adjourned for the day. Cross-examination will resume tomorrow morning at 10:30.