If you’re new to the Hampstead Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) hoax, or if you remember reading about it when it was in the news in early 2015 but now cannot recall the details, this is a good place to start.
The Hampstead hoax, nicknamed “Hoaxtead”, can seem very complicated, and as time has gone on, more conspiracy believers have become involved in attempting to promote it. On this page, we’ll try to boil it down for you. For more detail on each element of the hoax, you can click on the highlighted text.
If you’d like to delve even further, please check out our FAQ section, conveniently located to the left on the menu bar at the top of the page. This blog is no longer in active publication, but you can use the search box in the right-hand column to find any material you’re interested in.
Start with the High Court judgment
The best place to start looking into the hoax is the High Court judgment which was brought down by Mrs Justice Anna Pauffley on 19 March 2015.
The judgment offers a very comprehensive overview of what was alleged, and why those allegations were found to have been false.
Hampstead hoax summary
Ella Gareeva Draper, a Russian woman living in Hampstead, London at the time of the hoax, is the mother of three children. She has a son, now an adult, from her marriage to Mr Draper; and two children, a girl and a boy, from a live-in relationship (the father cannot be named here due to a court order).
In early September 2014, these two children, called “P” and “Q” in the judgment of the fact-finding hearing into the case, and then aged 8 and 9, were recorded on a series of smartphone videos made by their mother and her new boyfriend, Abraham Christie.
In the videos, the children respond to questions from Abraham and Ella, and state that they were part of a group of 20 “special” children from Hampstead who had been sexually abused and made to abuse one another as part of a “cult”.
The cult was said to be widespread, but the “main action” took place at Christ Church Primary School and in the church adjacent to it.
At first, the children alleged that:
- Babies were supplied from all over the world. They were bought, injected with drugs, and sent by TNT or DHL to London to be abused, tortured, and sacrificed;
- The babies’ throats were slit, blood was drunk, and cult members would then dance wearing 20 babies’ skulls apiece on their bodies;
- Cult members wore shoes fashioned out of baby skin. The shoes were made in a shoe repair kiosk in the local tube station;
- The children were anally raped by adult cult members using “plastic willies” of various colours (according to the rank of the cult member). These “plastic willies” were manufactured by their father in his garden shed;
- Abuse venues included the school the children attended, the church adjacent to the school, and many of the other schools in the Hampstead area;
- Another venue was East Finchley swimming pool, where more than 30 adults and children would crowd into the disabled persons’ toilet to sexually abuse the children;
- Rituals were performed in an upstairs room at the McDonald’s restaurant in Hampstead. Babies were prepared, cooked in the ovens in a secret kitchen, then eaten by cult members;
- In the videos, the children alleged that their father was the “boss” of the cult. They also named their older half-brother, various teachers from their school, the priest at the adjacent church, a large number of named parents of the “special children”, social workers, CAFCASS employees, and police officers.
Following a fact-finding hearing in the High Court Family Division, Mrs Justice Pauffley stated in her 19 March 2015 judgement:
I am entirely certain that everything Ms Draper, her partner Abraham Christie and the children said about those matters was fabricated. The claims are baseless. Those who have sought to perpetuate them are evil and / or foolish.
All the indications are that over a period of some weeks last summer , P and Q were forced by Mr Christie and Ms Draper, working in partnership, to provide concocted accounts of horrific events. The stories came about as the result of relentless emotional and psychological pressure as well as significant physical abuse. Torture is a strong word but it is the most accurate way to describe what was done to the children by Mr Christie in collaboration with Ms Draper.
The children were made to take part in filmed mobile ‘phone recordings in which they relayed a series of fabricated satanic practices. Subsequently, at the instigation of Abraham Christie and Ella Draper, the children repeated their false stories to Jean-Clement Yaohirou, Mr Christie’s brother in law, in a late night discussion. It lasted for about three hours; Mr Christie and Ms Draper did most of the talking.
P and Q were ABE (Achieving Best Evidence) interviewed on 5, 11 and 17 September 2014. On the first two occasions, they supplied information about events they claimed had occurred, similar in their overall content to the mobile ‘phone video clips and audio recording. On 17 September, in ABE interview, both children withdrew their allegations. Each stated they had been made to say things by Abraham Christie, the mother’s partner, which were not true; and they gave very full details of the way in which he had secured their compliance.
Abraham Christie is a small-time criminal who has approximately 36 convictions to his name, primarily for assault, forgery, fraud, and abusing his own children. He and Ella met in May 2014, and within a few weeks he had begun staying overnight at her house. He had several clashes with the parents and teachers at Ella’s children’s school.
In August 2015, Abe and Ella took the children to a house in the Moroccan countryside for a four-week vacation. During this time, with Ella’s assistance, Abraham interrogated the children relentlessly, claiming that their father, teachers, friends’ parents, social workers and others had sexually abused them in the context of a “death cult” based in their school and church.
Abe and Ella would wake the children at night to question them, and spent hours “brainstorming” the details of the alleged cult. When the children were reluctant to go along with the story they were concocting, Abraham beat them with a metal spoon, kicked them, hit them in the head, poured water on them, and threatened to bury them alive in the desert and leave them there to die. When asked later whether their mother allowed this to happen, the children said she fully approved of it.
En route from Morocco to London, Abe and Ella made the videos of the children’s allegations.
When they arrived in London on the evening of 4 September, Abe took the children to the home of Jean-Clement Yaohirou, his brother-in-law and a Special Constable with the London Metropolitan Police. Special Constables are volunteer police officers who assist the regular force with things like door-to-door enquiries, etc.
Jean-Clement made a recording of what was said during that visit, and was concerned enough about its contents that he called Scotland Yard the next morning.
A police investigation was initiated, as mentioned above. Following the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interviews on 11 September, in which P stated that Abraham hit them, the police took the children into protective custody. During this ABE interview, Child P stated that she hated Abraham and was angry with her mother for allowing him to hurt them.
On 22nd September the police investigation into the satanic allegations was closed for a number of reasons:
- The children had withdrawn their allegations and had stated that they had been made to lie by Abraham Christie;
- Police enquiries and investigations at various venues like the church found no corroborative evidence for the allegations;
- Some venues described by the victims did not exist;
- None of the other children interviewed by Children and Social Care, who had allegedly been involved in the abuse, made any allegations, and all were found to be well and happy;
- Some names of ‘suspects’ provided by the children were false, and some were copied verbatim from a class list from the 2012–2013 school year;
- The children had provided names of police officers within the Metropolitan Police Service. Full research was conducted and it was found that no such officers existed.
After the children were taken into care, Ella began legal proceedings to attempt to have the children returned to her.
In November 2014, Ella asked for assistance from an organisation called the Association of McKenzie Friends. Sabine McNeill and Belinda McKenzie, conspiracy believers who were already notorious for their roles in various failed family court cases, began to assist Ella.
When it became clear that the children would not be returned to their mother, Sabine sent the videos of the children to Henry Curteis, a conspiracy theorist who runs The Tap Blog. He published the videos, which quickly went viral on the internet. By the time the Pauffley judgment was released, it was estimated that more than 4 million people had viewed the videos. That number would continue to rise exponentially over the next few years.
A court order was issued demanding that both Ella and Sabine remove any and all publications about the case from the internet, and that they cease identifying either the children or their father.
Rather than doing so, both women fled the country: Sabine bolted to her native Germany, while Ella and Abraham ran away when the police came to Ella’s house to ask her about the material she had allowed to be released online.
Sabine was arrested for the first time upon her return to the UK in August 2015. Further arrests and trials would follow.
Ella and Abraham remain at large, although Ella was arrested in Gibraltar in 2021 on charges of transporting large amounts of cannabis resin across national borders. She was later released, on the basis that her time spent in custody was equivalent to the maximum sentence for the alleged crime.
The impact on victims of the hoax
Victims of this pernicious fabrication have had their lives turned upside down, in some cases irreparably:
- The two children at the centre of the story have have their names, photographs, and videos shared millions of times across the internet, in the context of extreme and disturbing allegations of sexual abuse. They were forced to make allegations while enduring what can only be described as torture;
- The two children were filmed describing lurid and horrific details including: being sodomised by cult members including their father, being forced to participate in the murder of infants, and being forced to drink the blood and consume the flesh of murdered babies. These videos, as well as videos of the children being interviewed by police, are now endemic online despite the fact that it is illegal to identify children in abuse cases, whether the case is found to be true or not;
- The two children were placed in foster homes once they had been removed from their mother and her abusive boyfriend, but they had to be moved three times in as many months when vigilante amateur detectives hunted them down, and their locations were disclosed via social media;
- Their whereabouts are now unknown to the public, but those who believe in this false story continue to actively hunt for them. There’s no doubt that if they are found, their whereabouts will be disclosed again, and their well-being once again endangered;
- In addition to being traumatized by their mother and her boyfriend, the children must look forward to a future which their names and images will be spread across the internet. They are now in their mid-teens, and it’s very likely that their images have been viewed by friends and schoolmates;
- A small business venture which the children started was discovered by conspiracy theorists, with the result that the children lost the business they had worked hard to build;
- The father of these two children has been thoroughly reviled, and had his name, personal details, and pictures shared by millions online, with disastrous personal consequences;
- His business prospects have been utterly destroyed, and his future business prospects are grim, as any potential client who Googles his name will find it associated with this hoax;
- He must live with the constant fear that his children will be kidnapped, or that he will be murdered by people who believe he leads a cult which rapes children and murders and cannibalises babies;
- This hoax has affected members of his family, including his 90+-year-old grandmother, who was “profiled” in a disgusting blog which claimed that she was a cult member who sexually assaulted children and ate babies. She died within days of this vile allegation. All members of the father’s family have been attacked online, as the hoax promoters claimed that they were all involved in the cult;
- The 72 children of the other accused parents, who were alleged to have been victims of the “cult”, have been investigated by social services, and have had to be under constant adult supervision to prevent kidnappers attempting to “save” them. They, too, have entered their teens, but must be constantly vigilant lest unhinged individuals attempt to abduct them;
- Allegations were made concerning whether these 72 children “enjoyed” sex or not, even though they were only eight or nine years old at the time. Descriptions were published as to how these children reacted to being sexually assaulted, which could be of great interest to other potential child abusers;
- Lists were released online containing the names, street addresses, work and contact details of the 175 adults who had been accused. Of course, this means that the addresses of the vulnerable children were published, too.
Drawings of alleged “intimate tattoos”, warts, birthmarks, moles, etc. of alleged cult members have prompted demands from believers to “show us your tattoos!” as proof of innocence.
As a result:
- Parents of some of the named children have been approached online by paedophiles requesting access to their children, based on the allegations that some children “enjoyed” being sexually assaulted by adults;
- Some of the accused cult members have been chased in the street; many have been phoned at home, and received countless threatening emails and text messages;
- They have had their privacy invaded by online “investigators” who scrutinized and published their every move on social media;
- Their families, neighbours, and employers have received emails “outing” them as paedophiles, murderers, child-traffickers, and cannibals;
- Some have been forced to move and take on new identities, as they fear being attacked physically by those who believe the Hampstead hoax;
- All have had to have panic alarms and security systems installed in their homes, and they must cope with the daily anxiety of not knowing whether someone may decide to physically attack them or abduct or harm their children;
- At least one person suffered a complete nervous breakdown.
Arrests so far
Since the hoax began in 2015, multiple arrests and trials have taken place. Here are a few highlights:
- In April 2015, Christine Sands, a woman from the U.S.A. was arrested, pleaded guilty, and was deported for her role in harassing a church congregation in Hampstead.
- In 2016, Rupert Quaintance, a man from the U.S.A. travelled to London to “investigate the cult”, was arrested and charged with Harassment 4. He served 4.5 months of two concurrent nine-month prison sentences prior to being deported.
- In 2016, Sabine McNeill and Neelu Berry were tried for witness intimidation and issued with lifetime restraining orders intended to prevent them from continuing to broadcast illegal and false claims about people in the “cult”.
- In October 2016, Sabine McNeill pleaded guilty to violating the restraining order which had been put in place three months earlier. She received a suspended sentence, but the judge warned her that if she continued on this path, she would face sterner legal consequences.
- In October 2018, Jake Clarke was found guilty of harassing two people in relation to the Hampstead hoax. He was given a suspended sentence and a Criminal Behaviour Order.
- In November–December 2018, Sabine McNeill was found guilty on four charges of stalking and six charges of violating the 2016 restraining order. She was sentenced to nine years in prison.
- In November 2018, Edgar John, aka “Eddie Is Okay”, was arrested and charged with contempt of court in relation to filming in the court precinct, in search of “Hoaxtead trolls”, as he put it. He was tried on 28 November, found guilty, and received a suspended sentence.
- In December 2018, during McNeill’s trial, Belinda McKenzie was arrested and charged with contempt of court in relation to publishing the name of a witness in the McNeill trial, contrary to a court order. McKenzie was found guilty and received a suspended sentence.
- In May 2019, Alan Colley, known online as Alan Alanson, faced charges of harassment in relation to the Hampstead case. On the day of his trial, he agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of malicious communications, and was sentenced to nine months in prison.
- In September 2020, Matthew Taylor was found guilty of stalking in relation to the Hampstead case. He received a suspended sentence.
- In April 2021, John Paterson pleaded guilty to two charges of stalking and one charge of malicious communications. In May 2021 he received a hospital order under Sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act, and is currently serving an indefinite term in a secure psychiatric facility.
At present Ella and Abraham remain at large. Along with a group of like-minded people, they continue to promote the hoax, encouraging others to spread illegal videos of the children. They continue to accuse the father of being the leader of a “Satanic paedo-sadistic death cult” (their words).