Hampstead school at centre of false satanic cult allegation welcomes judge's ruling
PUBLISHED: 17:26 20 March 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A Hampstead school that found itself at the centre of completely false allegations about a satanic paedophile cult has welcomed a High Court judge's ruling that the accusations were "entirely baseless".
Two young children, now in care, had been forced to take part in the campaign in which “lurid allegations” about Christ Church School in Hampstead were made.
The children, who can only be identified as P and Q, were forced by their mother Ella Draper and her boyfriend Abraham Christie, to say that they were at the centre of a large group abused by a satanic cult.
It was alleged that the children’s father, Ricky Dearman, was the leader of the cult and that teachers and a large number of parents at Christ Church Primary, a priest at an adjacent church, social workers and police officers were involved.
Top Family Division judge Mrs Justice Pauffley yesterday ruled: “There was no satanic cult at which babies were murdered and children were sexually abused.”
She continued: “I am able to state with complete conviction that none of the allegations are true. The claims are baseless. Those who have sought to perpetuate them are evil and, or foolish.”
She said that neither child had been sexually abused by their father, teachers or parents at Christ Church Primary School Hampstead, the priest at the adjacent church, or anyone else mentioned.
She said the children had been forced to lie about their alleged abuse by their mother and Mr Christie after relentless emotional and psychological pressure as well as significant physical abuse, saying the children had been “tortured”.
A statement from Christ Church Primary yesterday said: “The school community at Christ Church Primary welcomes the ruling which has been handed down today at the High Court, in particular that the judge was unequivocal in stating that the allegations which have been widely circulated on the internet about the school, staff members, governors and parents were completely baseless, fabricated and untrue.
“These events have demonstrated the speed and uncontrolled way in which untrue information about any innocent organisation or group of people can spread on the internet and through social media.
“These events have also shown the shock and damage that malicious information circulated in this way can cause to individuals and families.
“This has been a distressing and difficult time for all of us at Christ Church Primary School, but it has really demonstrated the incredible strength of community that exists around our little school.
“All members of the staff team at Christ Church continue to feel deep concern for the children at the centre of this very complex situation and sincerely hope they will go on to have every opportunity and success in the future.”
Cllr Angela Mason, cabinet member for children at Camden Council, said: “Today the High Court ruled that the allegations relating to Christ Church Primary School were completely fabricated, baseless and untrue.
“We are pleased that the staff, governors and parents at Christ Church and the other Camden schools mentioned in this case have been exonerated.
“We note the judge’s comments about those who have circulated the false allegations and would ask that anyone who comes across this material does nothing that causes it to circulate more widely.”
The judge’s ruling said that those wrongly implicated in the allegations had been forced to “live in fear”.
She said: “Lives have been disrupted. Several of those implicated have received malicious, intimidating phone calls and emails at all hours of the day and night from all over the world.
“It has been necessary for the police to protect worried parents and children at the gates of the school in Hampstead at the centre of the allegations.
“Prospective parents have wondered whether to withdraw their children from allocated places.
“Existing parents have been uniformly supportive of the school and every member of the teaching staff.”