Mother accused of being a ‘sadistic paedophile’ speaks about ordeal

Four accused mums are speaking about being accused of a crime they didn’t commit in Channel 4 documentary Accused: The Hampstead Paedophile Hoax (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Paedophiles!’ ‘Murderers!’ were the chants hurled at mums dropping their children at a Hampstead primary school.

Being accused of a crime you didn’t commit is the stuff of nightmares, but for a community in north London, it was their reality and now they are speaking about the horrific ordeal and how they fought to clear their names as part of the Channel 4 documentary Accused: The Hampstead Paedophile Hoax.

Starting in 2014, around 170 people were accused of being part of a Satan-worshipping paedophile ring. One of those people was Sarah*, whose name has been changed for protection.

‘What happened to me could happen to anyone,’ Sarah warned in an interview with

Two primary schoolchildren originally made the allegations about their school teachers, parents at the school, and religious leaders.

The minors said their father ran the ring and claimed that members of his cult would drink babies’ blood, and wore babies’ skulls while dancing. The parents were accused of abusing their own children, who were aged nine at the time. The police investigation found no evidence.

It later transpired that they were threatened by their mum Ellie Draper and her boyfriend Abraham Christie to make the claims. A judge would call their methods ‘torture’. However, as it happened while on holiday in Morocco, they were not prosecuted for any crimes in the UK.

Ella Draper with partner Abraham Christie

The following year, Draper hired Sabine McNeill as a legal advisor to sue the children’s father for custody. Conspiracy theorist McNeil illegally posted videos of police interviews with the children from the court case, which went viral, and a list of the alleged abusers and their confidential information such as phone numbers and home addresses. The innocent people at the centre were subject to horrific abuse, threats and harassment.

Sarah’s life was pulled apart. The dedicated mother wasn’t able to get a job to support her family as background checks would bring up false accusations. Sarah was at least comforted by being able to take her children to and from school, something she was fearful of anyone else doing. Each day, Sarah slightly adjusted her route, just in case she was being monitored, and was constantly vigilant for people who may jump out.

Once they arrived at school, they were greeted by police guarding the gates due to the amount of active kidnap and death threats. At night, they were on their own and so Sarah would sleep on a mattress placed on the floor of her children’s bedroom, fearful of them being taken. ‘I told them I was sleeping in their room because I didn’t like the smell of the paint in mine,’ she recalled.

Sarah’s story is told by an actor (Picture: Channel 4)

When her children weren’t around, Sarah checked for any new comments, blog posts, or messages. While some people advised her to ignore it, she decided that there was power in knowing any potential danger.

Despite all the difficulties, she tried to keep her children’s lives the same and only cried once while they were in the house. The tears came on the very first day she was named as part of the fictional cult while sitting in the living room with her husband, as her children played in their bedroom.

‘The main feeling I had as a parent, and I think it is quite animalistic, was to protect my children.

‘I wanted to physically protect them and I wanted to protect them from what I’d experienced. Everything online stays there and I knew firsthand how it could impact life chances and job opportunities so I had to ensure that didn’t happen to them. I wanted them to have a normal life.’

A community in Hampstead was accused of horrific crimes (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When a determined Sarah, along with other mothers, tried to stop their details from being shared any more millions of times on social media posts by going to the police station, they were told the harassers could not be prosecuted. Sarah was also told there was no public interest in the case, she claimed.

‘Don’t underestimate me. I have full intention to take it all the way even if I fail over and over again,’ she warned officers.

Sarah, alongside other mothers, chose to do a victim’s right to review to overturn the original decision.

In a landmark case, McNeil was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2019 for harassment and stalking, as well as violating a restraining order. She was released in 2022 and now lives in Germany.

McNeill was sentenced to nine years in prison (Picture: Central news)

At least seven other people have been arrested in conjunction with the case, including Rupert Wilson Quaintance, who appears in the documentary. He had no connection to the case but flew from the USA to the UK after growing a following writing blog posts on the conspiracy theory. He raised money for his plane tickets and shared an intention to ‘kick down doors’.

Draper and Christie fled to Spain in 2015.

After years of trying to get some kind of justice, the 2019 court case felt like a resolution finally. Continually working to hold the people to account, left Sarah feeling completely drained.

Now years later, she wants to highlight her story in the Channel 4 documentary so that any ‘mistakes’ can be fixed in the future.

Draper fled to Spain

‘I agreed to do it as we’ve been failed by the criminal system, police, and social media companies, who needed to work quicker to protect us and didn’t know how to deal with it. Not much has changed with their regulations since, and knowing the mistakes is halfway to finding the solution.

‘We all need to learn to examine what we read too. I wasn’t even aware of damaging conspiracy theories before this happened. It’s still happening now, just not to the extreme of what happened to me.’

In the documentary, Sarah is played by actor Sarah Barlondo, to protect her from further exposure. Her children are not named, and she proudly tells me that their details are nowhere on the internet in connection to this case.

The documentary airs tonight with actors representing the mothers (Picture: Rob Parfitt / Channel 4)
Sarah warns that it could happen to anyone (Picture: Getty Images)

Sarah, who now owns her own business, had the unique experience of watching her words being spoken by someone else but didn’t feel upset by it.

‘I have reconciled within myself with what I have gone through. There is no point Iiving in the past, you just have to move on and continue. It happened. It was bad. Yes, it still can affect me sometimes, but you learn to live with it because it’s not healthy otherwise,’ she stated.

Accused: The Hampstead Paedophile Hoax will air on Channel 4 at 9pm on March 11.

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