Yesterday we published the first half of an update to our FAQ: Promoters of the hoax. We’ve been going over the evidence from Sabine McNeill’s trial, integrating new information and deleting material which is no longer relevant, in order to present the most accurate summary possible.
In yesterday’s post we covered the time between Abraham Christie and Ella Draper’s return from Morocco and Ella’s requesting assistance from Sabine; today we’ll look at the release of the videos and the immediate aftermath.
1. The release of the videos
During her trial, McNeill said that Draper gave her the videos of the children “over Christmas” in 2014. On 21 December 2014, she emailed a person named Brad, asking for his assistance in preparing the videos to be shared online.
Describing the contents of McNeill’s computer at her 2018 trial, DC Martin testified:
She said she was sharing the videos and wanted to know how to make a trailer for them; she also mentioned having contacted a police officer who she felt would confirm the credibility of the mother’s story.
“Russian TV will come on 11 January”, she said. “I may persuade Ella to pay for it”.
Later in the same blog post she stated:
On 23 December, the last of 3 hearings took place in Barnet Court. At the previous one, the mother dismissed her barrister who was not willing to defend her affidavit. Since then, she dismissed her solicitor who had not filed documents in time for the court.”
On the face of it, this appears to contradict McNeill’s testimony that Draper had called her in to act as a McKenzie friend, since she had just sacked her legal team.
However, in another post McNeill revealed that by the time Draper contacted her, she had already sacked her second set of solicitors, as they would not go along with her ideas of how the case should be run. In December, Draper grew angry with her legal team once again, and sacked, re-hired, then sacked them again all in the same day.
At that time, frustrated with their difficult client, the legal team handed the legal bundle over to Draper. The bundle contained not only all the “home-made” videos of the children, but also the police interview videos, the CRIS report, the medical report, and other confidential material.
Draper and McNeill
During cross-examination at her trial, McNeill stated that she did not view Draper as a McKenzie friend client, but as a “protegée”.
This suggests that Draper had contacted McNeill not to act as a McKenzie friend, but to help her publicise the case online. McNeill is well-known in some circles for her prolific blogging about controversial cases in which she or her friends had involved themselves.
During her trial, McNeill appeared not to fully understand the role of a McKenzie friend. However, she is well-acquainted with using the internet to (in her words) “Expose, expose, expose!”
How were the videos shared?
Prior to her trial, McNeill repeatedly contended that she had not deliberately shared the videos.
In August 2015, McNeill was arrested for the first time, at the Royal Courts of Justice. In her police interview, she repeatedly denied any responsibility for having released the videos.
DC Chris Wall testified that during her police interview McNeill said:
- “I have never uploaded the videos”.
- “I have uploaded the videos to a private Google account”.
- “I have removed the videos from my Google Drive”.
Later, she admitted that she had not released the videos intentionally, but had “inadvertently bcc’d” them in an email to Henry Curteis, owner of the Tap News Wire blog.
At her 2018 trial, McNeill tried to stick with the “inadvertent bcc” story.
She maintained she had sent an email to the Home Secretary, to notify May’s office that the petition on Change.org would be sending her a notification every time anybody signed it. She claimed that she had added the bcc to Curteis at Tap News Wire because his blog was “very wide-ranging” and she felt he needed to be informed.
The ‘bcc’ story was bunkum
However, at McNeill’s trial DC Martin testified that during his investigation of one of her computers, he saw an email from her dated 2 February 2015.
This email was addressed to the private office of then-Home Secretary Theresa May, and was cc’d to Draper, the Royal Courts of Justice, the family courts, and McKenzie, among others. The email demanded the return of the children to their mother.
DC Martin testified that there was nothing on the email to indicate that Henry Curteis had been bcc’d on it. This runs counter to previous assumptions about how the videos went viral on the internet.
The Change.org petition
It emerged during the trial that the original source of the videos online was a Change.org petition McNeill originally launched on 21 January 2015 to demand the return of the children to Draper.
The petition, titled “Return #WhistleblowerKids and #AbuseSurvivors to their Russian Family!” was addressed to:
- Home Secretary The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
- Ministry of Justice The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
- Chief Executive London Borough of Barnet Andrew Travers
- and two others whose names are no longer visible on the Wayback Machine version of the petition.
Change.org forwards any updates to its petitions to all who have signed it. In one such petition update, made on 26 January 2015, McNeill included a link to her Google Drive, where the videos were stored.
McNeill had given the videos provocative names such as “Papa kills babies”, and had saved the videos on her Google Drive, which she made available not only via the Change.org petition and then the email to the Home Secretary, but later via some of her blogs.
Part of the email stated,
The attached Position Statement was our offer NOT to expose this scandal in exchange of returning the children. Instead, Mrs Justice Pauffley ignored the issues that have been outstanding since Judge Mayer transferred the case to her on 23 December:
1. The justification for an Interim Care Order.
2. The discussion of a Non-Molestation Order.
3. The inequality of Contact.
The Position Statement was one which McNeill had attempted to present to Mrs Justice Pauffley when it became clear that she had no intention of immediately handing the children back to Draper. In the Position Statement, she had written:
To avoid high level embarrassment, the following possible arrangements might be worth considering:
1) Instead of starting public law proceedings against the school, the children are returned – with immediate effect – to live with the maternal grandparents in Russia.
2) Instead of mobilising English and Russian social media, the father is given a non-molestation order for life, anywhere in the world.
3) Instead of joining the Russian government to the proceedings, the children are released to their mother and maternal grandparents with immediate effect.
Mrs Justice Pauffley had rejected this attempt at judicial blackmail, and so McNeill attempted to go over her head, to the Home Secretary. In doing so, she also released the videos onto the internet.
On 26 January, Draper had handed McNeill the bundle containing her court materials, including sensitive documents such as the police medical report. This was the material which Draper’s last legal team had given her in December.
McNeill placed all this material on her Google Drive, which was publicly accessible via the sharing link in the email/Change.org update. The material very quickly went viral.
On 2 February 2015, Henry Curteis of Tap News Wire published a post titled “Children describe Satanic murders they were forced to take part in”, which contained an email to then-Home Secretary Theresa May, along with a clickable list of the videos.
While McNeill claimed that Curteis published this as a result of her “inadvertent” bcc, it now looks more likely that Curteis was either informed directly of this material, or that he received one of the updates from the Change.org blog.
On 8 February, Draper contacted McNeill by email. She stated that she was unhappy that McNeill had gone against her explicit instructions not to publish the material she had shared with her:
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.
McNeill’s response was that she was “nicely miffed now”:
I sent a text, I telephoned and left a message and am nicely miffed now.
I’ve spelled out to John Hemming with cc to Ella, once again, that I did NOT publish anything, I just blind-copied one blogger in my email to Theresa May MP as a recipient of the petition.
Victims are always their worst enemies after all…
If Abraham wants to run the show, let him!
Our ‘group’ does not include him.
Terry says clearly that if there is no defence in, the case is lost. But you can say it’s lost no matter what.
I’ve done as best I could. Sorry it wasn’t good enough.
This email raises an interesting question: “Terry” refers to Terence Ewing, a colleague of McNeill and McKenzie, who had been involved with the Association of McKenzie Friends. Ewing was a former business partner of Keith Hammerton and Roger Gleaves, both convicted paedophiles.
Ewing was described by a high court judge as “unattractive and indicative of a lack of personal integrity and honesty”, as well as a “vexatious litigant” and a “professional nimby” with a “voracious appetite” for taking cases. He is banned from taking a civil action in England and Wales unless he has the permission of a High Court judge.
How or why Ewing was involved in the Hampstead matter remains a matter for further investigation.
Following her email exchange, McNeill did not remove the material as requested by Draper. Nor did she remove it in response to a court order, nor following any of her eight arrests between August 2015 and February 2018.
Mandatory injunction issued
On 11 February 2015, a mandatory injunction was issued by Mrs Justice Anna Pauffley, demanding that Draper and McNeill “delete from publicly available electronic sources their postings of all photographs, recordings (voice or video)” which identified the children or their father.
Rather than complying with the order, Draper and McNeill both responded by fleeing the country to avoid arrest.
Draper went to Spain, and was joined shortly afterward by Christie; McNeill went to Berlin, but returned in August 2015. The day after her return, she was arrested at the Royal Courts of Justice, where she had gone to watch Draper’s appeal, a last-ditch effort to have the children returned to her.
Charlotte Ward and Hampstead Research
In early March 2015, a few weeks after the videos were released online, Charlotte Ward, now “rebranded” as Jacqui Farmer and living in Paramaribo, Suriname, launched a new blog titled Hampstead Research.
Jacco de Boer, aka “Video Man”, took on the task of making videos about the hoax. Both the blog and the videos contained material probing into the private lives of all the people Draper and Christie had named. In the videos, narrated by Ward, her voice was deeply distorted to avoid recognition.
While it was relatively short-lived, Hampstead Research and its associated video channel played a major role in harassing the families and teachers of Hampstead.
Ward and de Boer published a great deal of completely baseless defamatory, harassing material, and encouraged readers to send harassing emails to people’s friends and workplaces.
Hampstead Research was closed by WordPress in July 2015, but Ward persisted, creating a new version of her blog which contained much of the same material. However, by the end of October 2015, she ceased posting. The blog remained up for some months afterward, but eventually disappeared. Ward claimed that it had been hacked, and this seems possible given that no trace of it exists even on the Internet Archive.
As we stated in Part 1 of this FAQ, Araya Soma was involved in the hoax in its very early stages. She attempted to get Bill Maloney’s interest, but he seemed to back out quite quickly.
Once McNeill had posted the videos and other confidential information about the children, Soma (aka Araya Manna, aka Ninon Dulac, aka Laurence Lavie) continued trying to promote the hoax, through her own Cbange.org petition.
This was posted, as far as we can tell, on 9 February 2015:
We demand that the alleged abusers with apparent distinguishing marks come forward to be examined by independent trusted doctors alongside trusted police and normal police too
Come forward to be examined, if you are not guilty you should have come forward STRAIGHT away to be examined , you havent, so we find that as this is weird that you havent, we assume you are guilty, so we DEMAND that you be examined by trusted doctors who could see any attempts to cover up those marks up, plus trusted police and any other police that wish to be present. We want photos taken to kept by the police and doctors for reference in court
Petitioning HAMPSTEAD ALLEGED ABUSERS COME TO BE EXAMINED
In an update to the petition, titled “COMMON LAW”, Soma wrote on 16 February,
16 Feb 2015 — If any of you know people who are very well versed in common law and could help us take those accused into a common law court please HELP , contact me on FB as ARAYA SOMA
In November 2015, Soma posted something which sounded suspiciously like an admission that child sex abuse images had been found on Christie’s phone:
And here is the report by a close friend: Just spoke with Abraham. He and Ella are safe… However, it’s obvious what the agenda/plan is:
Back in the summer the kids stole Abraham’s phone, and of course now surprise they have found kids porn on it… planted by the dad. The computer they say they have of Abe is bullshit, cause he has his computer with him, so they’ve implanted some computer which isn’t his…
So the agenda will be to say that it was Abe who is a paedo, which won’t wash as the kids were found to have been abused far far far longer than the very short time they knew Abe for…
Soma, an ardent neo-Nazi who advocates drinking one’s own menstrual blood and urine, has long since faded out of the picture, all the more so after Facebook removed two of her profile pages. Gone, but not forgotten.
to be continued….