Frequently asked questions: What about the videos?

What about the videos?

Many people find the videos of RD’s children very compelling indeed, and ask questions like, “How could they possibly remember that much detail unless they’d actually experienced it?” or “I just know those children weren’t acting; it’s just not possible!”

Let’s start with a synopsis of the videos themselves.

Here’s what Mrs Justice Pauffley said in her fact-finding judgement:

69. The mobile ‘phone film clips made by the mother and Mr Christie form part of the material relied upon by Ms Draper to support the claims of exceptionally serious abuse. There are 16 short clips in all although 3 appear to be copies. It is useful to set out a reasonably full extract of the first film clip because of the way it sets the scene for the rest.

70. The children are standing at the side of a car in a public place, possibly at an airport. P and Q look tired. There is a noticeable graze on P’s chin and, seemingly, a large bruise in the centre of her forehead.

71. The conversation begins between the two children and Mr Christie. P and Q talk about deciding to stop touching each other and the children. P says they will “face their fear – and face our urge – and stop touching ourselves.” Mr Christie asks, “…what else are you going to stop?” Q replies, “And stop killing babies.” Mr Christie says, “You’re going to face your fear? Because fear is what?” P replies, “Fear is the mind killer.” Mr Christie then says, “And you’re going to help us catch, who are you going to help us catch?” Both children reply, “All the paedophiles.” P adds, “Papa, Mr Hollings.” Both children say, “the school.” Ms Draper interjects, “All the policemen, all the – Social Services.” Mr Christie urges the children to “speak up, speak up.” The children then repeat, “All the Social Services” and add, “All the shopkeepers – Cafcass – all the cafes, all the Pizza Express – McDonalds.”

72. Mr Christie asks, “Who’s Cafcass? … What’s Cafcass” P and Q reply, “Cafcass is, they work with – they’re for children – they work with Social Services.” Mr Christie asks, “

And what did they do to you?” Both children, one after the other, respond,“They do sex … They touch each other – they touch me and Q. They have plastic willies. And they stick it in our bottom.”

73. Mr Christie then asks the children to say who has done this. The children reply, “Everybody does.” In response to his direct questions, “Who, who, who?” the children say, “Papa, Mr Hollings – the school…” The mother interjects, “Parents.” Q adds, “My dad’s family.” Mr Christie then says, “Tell me more people, tell me some more people because I’m interested.” P adds, “Parents, policemen–.”

74. Mr Christie asks, “What about the teachers at the school, who are the main ones?” The children give names and then they are asked what the head teacher does. Both reply simultaneously, “And she does sex.” Next Mr Christie asks, “And what happens in the church?” P replies, “And we do sex with the baby sacrifice and eat the baby.” Mr Christie asks what she means and she says, “So we kill the baby and eat it and drink the blood from it.” Mr Christie asks Q whether that is true. He replies, “Yes. And we dance with the skulls… Baby skulls.”

75. One of Mr Christie’s final questions is as to who kills the babies. Both children reply, “Papa.” Mr Christie then says, “And what, he gets you to help him?” Both children say, “Yes.” P adds, “So he tells us to hold our hand in a knife and then he holds his hand on our hand, so then he cuts the baby’s head off. And he tip it upside down and then we drain the blood.” Ms Draper asks, “And then what they do?” P replies, “And then we cook it and then we drink the blood and after we pick the bones, dance with the skulls…”

76. The other film clips are similar in that the interrogation of the children is undertaken in the main by Mr Christie with occasional interventions by Ms Draper. More and more information about the activities of the cult and the identities of those involved is recorded. In the second extract, the children are instructed to “Tell the camera…. Say what you said to the camera.” Ms Draper at one point says, “So what are we going to do? We’re going to protect other babies – and children, huh? And save those children who are involved or have been forced to be involved, right?”

77. The eighth clip starts with Mr Christie saying to Q, “Keep saying it to her.” It seems that he and the children are, by then, on a plane. Q then pleads with P to “Tell the truth.” He begs her saying, “P it’s really important. If you won’t tell the truth you’ll get yourself into big trouble… so please tell the truth.” The tenth clip continues similarly, Q fervently pleads with P to tell the truth. He says, “Mum and Papa Hemp are protecting you and you have to help them protect yourself … and to protect all of us because we’re in a group. If the group lies we’ll start to get wrong, things will start to happen wrong. And you might like, you might broke a glass, you might hurt yourself.” Mr Christie asks, “What about the babies?” Q replies, “And you might get your back your payment for the babies, you might get killed by someone.”

1. How could the children remember so much detail?

We think the answer to that question is partly seen in the excerpts above. The children are not just volunteering the information: they are responding to Abe’s questions, much as a primary school student might respond to a teacher’s prompts. When they leave out bits that Abe and Ella consider important, Abe either prompts them for further information, or Ella interjects to fill in the ‘missing pieces’.

This seems obvious when one looks at the narrative in print: one can see where the adults intervene, prompt, coach, add details.

When one is hearing the children for the first time, though, without knowing anything about how Abe actually treated the children, it’s easier to believe that the story is coming directly from the children. The shocking and lurid nature of what they’re saying is overwhelming

As well, keep in mind that the Abe and Ella got the children to contribute their own details to the narrative:

93. Mr Christie described something of the way in which the children had been questioned saying of P, “She lies, instinctively she lies.” He had believed her story, so he told Mr Yaohirou, “Because (he) had questioned her 10 times and then (he) would question him.” They had questioned the children “separately like the police do…” Ms Draper explained it had taken “four weeks to get to the –” Mr Christie adds, “Ella and I, we will begin to discuss certain aspects of the situation – and by discussing it – we brainstorm and we come up or we work out, we work things out. What she (P) will do while we are talking, she will interrupt us – and distract us with something and send us, like attempt to send us in another complete – We say to her, ‘Be quiet … Don’t distract us anymore”

94.The mother interjects, “Or she listen to our conversation. And she will– ” Mr Christie continues “–use the information, and he does it as well.”

In other words, the children were listening to Abe and Ella “brainstorm” the details of the story, and then using that information to helpfully add details.

Why would they do this, if the story wasn’t true?

For one thing, they were being physically and psychologically abused during the month they spent in Morocco. In the videos one can see the bruising and a cut on the little girl’s face; and during the medical examination it was discovered that Abe had hit the little boy so hard on the side of the head that he had actually ruptured his eardrum.

In addition, Abe was beating the children with spoons. We have spoken to other people he victimised in the past, and they tell us that he would usually heat the spoon on the stove before hitting them; his theory about using spoons is that they leave fewer bruises on his victims.

Abe and Ella were waking the children up at night to question them; sleep deprivation is a well-known torture tactic. Abe used to pour water on the children while they knelt before him in their underwear; they referred to this as “water torture”. Abe also threatened to bury the little girl in the desert and leave her there if she did not co-operate with him and Ella.

Mrs Justice Pauffley went so far as to describe what they experienced as “torture”. We think that’s an apt description.

It seems likely that, like an adult who experiences torture, the children were eager to do anything they could to make the pain stop. Contributing details to the stories they were being forced to learn was a minor thing, but it seemed to please their tormentor, and decreased their chances of further pain.

The combination of coaching and torture was very effective: by the time they were ready to return to the UK, the children were ready to be questioned about their alleged ‘cult abuse’. And because they had helped build parts of the story, the details would have been easier for them to recall under questioning.

2. “I heard those children. There’s no way they were lying”.

Most people who hear the children initially believe that they could not have made this story up.

However, consider this: if the children had really been subject to multiple brutal anal rapes per week, would you expect them to look and sound like normal 8- and 9-year-old children when they recounted the horrors they’d been exposed to? They look tired in the videos, but they speak clearly and calmly, with no sign of distress or fear.

Children who have been sexually abused, especially as often and as violently as RD’s children alleged, would likely be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. School-age children with PTSD will usually present as anxious, fearful, and distressed. They may fear that they will be re-victimised, and they often engage in ‘traumatic play’, in which they re-enact the traumatic incidents over and over. They often cycle between shyness and over-aggressive behaviour.

Watching the videos Abe and Ella made, none of these symptoms are evident. The children sound excited. Their words tumble out, they interrupt one another, they are eager to please their questioner with the ‘correct’ answer. They are focused on what they’re being asked, and show no apparent concern about the trauma they are supposedly revealing.

3. No child in the world could remember that much detail and recite it back from memory.

Really? Have you ever seen a Shirley Temple film? What about the Home Alone series with Macaulay Culkin? Lassie Come Home? Harry Potter?

Children, especially bright children, can have excellent memories for detail. And keep in mind that not everything they said was borne out in evidence: they named several police officers as abusers, for example, but none of those officers were found to exist. They described their father’s flat in great detail, but that flat did not exist.

4. So you’re accusing those children of lying? Children don’t lie about abuse.

We are absolutely not accusing the children of lying, in the sense of making things up on their own for malicious purposes. We are saying that they were bullied, tormented, and coached into saying things that were absolutely not true.

As for whether children lie about abuse, this is simply not true. The family courts have seen many, many cases in which children have been coached by one parent to tell lies about the other. In fact, the McKenzie friends in the Hampstead SRA hoax, Belinda McKenzie and Sabine McNeill, have been involved in at least one other case in which this happened.

5. Why did the police release copies of the videos where DC Steve Martin interviews the two children?

The police did not release these videos. In fact, their release was a serious breach of the law.

6. How and why did all the videos of the children being interviewed, whether by Abe and Ella, by the police, or by Abe and Jean-Clement Yaohirou’s house, get released onto the internet?

Our understanding is that the videos were in possession of Ella Draper’s solicitors, whom she fired, then re-hired, then fired again. The solicitors handed the videos over to Ella as part of her ‘bundle’. By law, they ought not to have done this. The videos should have been returned to the police, who would have allowed Ella or her legal team to see them as needed for her own case.

In January 2015, Ella’s McKenzie friend, Sabine McNeill, threatened that if the two children were not returned to Ella, she would release the videos and other information to the public. The first known publication of the 16 videos that were made en route from Morocco was in late January/early February 2015, on a conspiracy website called Veterans Today. They were also sent to a conspiracy blog called TheTapBlog, which belongs to Henry Curteis.

Ella later released the police interview videos onto the internet, again in violation of the law. In July 2015, Charlotte Alton Ward (aka ‘Jacqui Farmer’), who owned a blog called Hampstead Research, published an edited version of the Jean-Clement audio; this precipitated a split between Ward and Abe & Ella, who were angry that she had published them without their permission.

However, when interest in the hoax began to flag in January 2016, Abe and Ella released the full version of the Jean-Clement audio, in which Abe can plainly be heard coaching the children. It’s speculated that this audio recording was released in an effort to boost interest in the hoax, even though its contents clearly show that Abe and Ella were coaching and terrorising the children.

7. Ella was interviewed by police, so why didn’t she release videos of herself being interviewed? Was Abe interviewed?

So far as we know, Abe was not interviewed, since the known abuse of the two children took place outside the UK. In the police interviews, both children confirmed this.

However, Ella was definitely interviewed, but chose not to share her interview videos with the public. We don’t know exactly what was on those videos, but given Ella’s habit of sharing videos, we find it surprising that she didn’t release her own.

We can only speculate that whatever she said to police in September 2014, she would prefer that the public not hear it.

8. I heard that a forensic linguistic analysis was done on the videos in which the children retracted their original statements. This professional analysis stated that the police were forcing the children to lie, so those statements weren’t valid.

Olu Essien Popoola, the forensic linguist who provided an analysis of the children’s retractions to Charlotte Alton Ward was not a ‘professional’, but a student at Aston University. He has a long-standing relationship with those who have promoted the Hampstead SRA hoax, and his analysis was very biased. He is currently a member of a ‘secret’ group on Facebook which is dedicated to promoting the hoax.

Given Mr Popoola’s ties to the group, and his evident belief in the hoax, we cannot take his analysis seriously.

9. I heard that there’s video evidence out there of Ella Draper participating in making child pornography. Is this true?

The announcement that Ella might have been involved in making a video of child sexual abuse comes from a highly suspect source: Angela Power-Disney, who announced it at a time when her popularity as ‘leader’ within the Hampstead SRA hoax community was seriously threatened. Angela stated that a “professional hacker” was paid £3,000 to break into RD’s and Ella’s computers, and that this person found evidence that Ella and RD had been creating and distributing child sex abuse videos.

It seems most likely that Angela invented this new ‘plot twist’ as a way to boost her own visibility and power within the Hampstead SRA hoax group.

While we believe that Ella Draper participated and was a passive witness to the torture and terrorising of her own children in the summer of 2014, we have seen absolutely no evidence that might lead us to believe that she participated in making or distributing commercial child sexual abuse. Keep in mind that the police seized Ella’s computer in September 2014.

Following September 2014, Ella had no access to the children, as they were placed in police custody. Therefore, any claim that a mysterious hacker had gained access to her computer and found this material is highly suspect.

10. How did the video of Finnbarr Hagan interviewing the two children get onto the internet?

Sabine McNeill released one of the Finn Hagan videos in the email she sent to then-Home Secretary Theresa May, bcc’d to Henry Curteis at The Tap Blog. This suggests that the Finnbarr videos might have made their way to Brian Gerrish, who sent them, along with Ella and Abe’s laundry list of “features” of the Hampstead hoax, to Bill Maloney. Maloney passed them along, and eventually the material ended up with the police. We suspect this was the case because ultimately, the Finnbarr videos would have become part of the court bundle which Ella’s solicitors handed over to her when she sacked them in December 2014.