Accused: The Hampstead Paedophile Hoax review – the true story of a shocking lie about a satanic cult in a London suburb

The core of the documentary lies in the interviews with four of the Hampstead mothers who decided to take matters into their own hands

Irish Independent/March 11, 2024

By Pat Stacey

You might recollect, if only vaguely, the lie at its heart. In 2014, two young children — siblings aged eight and nine — claimed their father, who was estranged from their mother, was the leader of a paedophile ring in leafy Hampstead, north London.

​And not just a common or garden paedophile ring, but a satanic one that routinely conducted obscene rituals. Its members were not only sexually abusing children, they were killing them, harvesting their organs, drinking their blood and eating their flesh.

As patently ludicrous as this was, it merited a police investigation. In interviews. which are shown here, the two children alleged the entire school community was involved: parents, teachers, local clergy, even the police. Some 175 people were implicated.

You don’t need to be a child behavioural expert to recognise that there was something fishy going on. The lies were circulated online by the children’s mother Ella Draper. The story rapidly went viral and made headlines in newspapers around the globe.

Draper, who lived “an alternative lifestyle” (anyone for a raw vegan diet or a spot of face yoga?) and had lost a custody battle for the children, was considered “a bit odd”. Concerns about her parenting had been raised in the past.

It was soon established that there wasn’t a shred of truth in any of the allegations and the case was closed. Under fresh police questioning, the two children revealed they’d been coerced, often violently, into telling lies by their mother and her boyfriend Abraham Christie, a convicted criminal with links to wild conspiracy theories.

Frustratingly for people whose names had been blackened, the Crown Prosecution Service declined to take any action against Draper and Christie. Nobody seemed to know what, if anything, they could be charged with. The existing legal mechanisms simply weren’t up to the job.

Draper’s children were taken into care, after which she and Christie fled the country. They’re currently in Spain. In a sane world, the kind we used to imagine we lived in, the whole matter should have blown over, which is what the police naively predicted would happen.

‘The two children alleged the entire school community was involved’

Instead, it got worse. Draper continued to spread her poison online. Disgustingly, she and her unqualified “legal advisor” — a notorious troll called Sabine McNeill, who seems to be teetering on the edge of insanity — published a list of children (including their imagined sexual preferences) and their alleged abusers online, exposing innocent parents to intimidation and death threats.

Hampstead became a magnet for conspiracy theorists, some online, some in person. There’s copious mobile phone footage of the latter harassing people at the church, the school and even on their own doorsteps.

Some, mostly Americans, threatened to come to Hampstead to heroically “rescue” the children, using violence if necessary.

The core of the documentary lies in the interviews with four of the Hampstead mothers who decided to take matters into their own hands and fight back. To protect their anonymity, they remain off-screen and actors lip-sync to their words. They’re also given aliases.

One of them, “Alice”, was horrified to discover her young daughter’s photo had been lifted from her Google account and was circulating on shady internet sites. She began receiving emails from real paedophiles who wanted to connect with her child.

The four women banded together and effectively went undercover online, disguising themselves behind numerous fake identities in order to interact with the conspiracy theorists, while tracking and logging their every move.

Courageous and resourceful as they are, years of being immersed in the upside-down world of the conspiracy nut has left its mark. None of the women are quite the same as they were a decade ago. There are suggestions of ruined marriages and faith in human decency being lost

As one says: “What does it say about us as a society that truth doesn’t seem to matter?” ​

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