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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Anthony France

Hampstead mothers falsely accused of being Satanic paedophiles speak out in Channel 4 film

Four mothers from north London falsely accused of being Satanic paedophiles have spoken for the first time of how they cleared their names.

Internet trolls claimed the women were abusing their own children, then aged nine.

Their names and contact details had been posted online as part of a list of 175 alleged cult members in February 2015.

The nightmare began when two pupils at a Church of England primary school in Hampstead made a series of false and outlandish claims.

The brother and sister alleged the group were Devil worshippers who had sex with children, made sacrifices and drank their blood.

Their Russian-born mother, Ella Draper, and her new boyfriend Abraham Christie, also claimed her children had accused their father of running the Satan-worshipping paedophile ring, which also included other parents and teachers.

The brother and sister are named under the pseudonyms Joseph and Abigail in Channel 4’s Accused: The Hampstead Paedophile Hoax.

One innocent mother called “Anna”, 56, who appears in the new documentary, described the ordeal as “like being under siege”.

When the parents appealed to the police for help to stop their details being shared millions of times on social media posts, they were told the harassers could not be prosecuted.

Anna told the Daily Mail: “For years we had to keep this dignified silence, because we were trying to build a legal case and we didn’t want to jeopardise that.

“Now, finally, we get to have our voice.”

Actor Sarah Barlondo plays one of the mothers in the Channel 4 film (Rob Parfitt / Channel 4)

In a landmark case for the four women, conspiracy theorist Sabine McNeill, who repeatedly encouraged her followers to descend on Hampstead and confront the alleged Satanists, was convicted of four counts of harassment and six counts of breaching a restraining order.

McNeill, now 80, was branded Britain’s worst troll when finally jailed for nine years in 2019.

Judge Sally Cahill, QC, told the weeping pensioner: “This case has to be one of the most serious cases of stalking and breach of a restraining order that there can be.

“The direct consequences of your actions, is that for the four families concerned you have ruined all normal family life.”

Draper, 50, and Christie, 67, fled to Spain in 2015.

In the film to be shown at 9pm on March 11, the parents’ words are spoken by actors and they are referred to by pseudonyms to protect the privacy of their now grown-up children.

Sarah, a lawyer in her 40s, slept on her children’s bedroom floor for eight months until the family were able to move house.

She said: “Once our address was out there, I could not shake the thought that someone would come in and try to take them.”

Jenny, whose son was in Year 5, said protesters began to gather at the school and the church, shouting obscenities at parents.

She added: “They would call us Satantists, shout down the phone that we were f***ing and killing babies; that we were evil.”

Jenny remembers being followed by a large group, chanting obscenities, as she picked up her son from a school cross-country race.

She told the Mail: “That was particularly disturbing, as this activity hadn’t been advertised, so it was clear that somehow they were tracking our movements.”

In a documentary about their ordeal, Alice says of accusers: “They’re mentally unhinged.”

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