This post is about four dangerous women. For some of you who are familiar with the background, apologies for setting the scene in some detail. The backstory is somewhat involved: indeed, I could write a book about it, and I may well do so.
My subjects tonight are Sonia Poulton, Esther Baker, Sarah Phillimore and Louise Davis. All are obsessive, and all hang out with the serried ranks of the lunatic fringe. All engage in public campaigning via social media and all are self-proclaimed victims.
All are intolerant of opposing views, to such an extreme extent that all have sought, in the last couple of years or so, to settle comparatively trivial and petty scores with perceived critics and opponents, by continually reporting them to the British police. The latter allow them to self-certify as “victims”.
Unsurprisingly, such a cowardly and nasty campaign of intimidation has had a very damaging impact on the lives of their targets. Two were driven close to suicide. One was sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983, on threadbare grounds. Another has been forced to seek specialist counselling. Another has felt obliged to start civil proceedings.
That goes far, far beyond any normal dispute and demonstrates just how destructive – indeed, pathological – these women’s querulant and sinister campaigns are. I am sorry to have to tell you that they are persistently pursuing complaints to various authority figures of choice even now. I do not use the word “dangerous” about any person lightly, but I believe that it is fully justified in these instances.
I feel so strongly about this that I have decided to write about it, and to give my perspective on an extraordinary concatenation of events. It will take some time to pull all the threads together, so please bear with me.
First, I should say a little about each of these players. Poulton is a notorious conspiracy theorist, obsessed with the disappearance of Madeline McCann (for which, it seems, she blames the parents), and with alleged paedophiles in Parliament. She is a former associate of another notorious conspiracy theorist and Holocaust denier, David Icke, whom she treats as an authority on VIP paedophilia.
Like Icke, she claims to believe in Satanic Ritual Abuse by British Parliamentarians, past and present. No one is too whacky for Poulton: witness her sycophantic interview of Michael Shrimpton on Icke’s TV internet channel, The People’s Voice, in November 2013. Some eighteen months previously, police had arrested Shrimpton for making a bomb hoax during the 2012 Olympics, a fact Poulton chose not to mention to listeners.
Poulton inhabits a criminal milieu. She ran two troll groups on Twitter: one named Troll Patrol in conjunction with her (now former) partner Lee Taylor Ryan, the “Lotto Lag”; and another named Team Outlaw, run in conjunction with Roydon Jones aka Outlaw Jimmy, who has a conviction for malicious communications against a man named Darren Laverty, whom Poulton then accused of online harassment (more about this later). She is a passionate defender of the late Brenda Leyland who, using the Twitter moniker “Sweepyface”, used to troll the McCanns incessantly.
She is also a passionate defender of a notorious troll named Chris Hobby, who as Kris Manalien was jailed in 2009 for harassing an award-winning photographer, Robert Cracknell. Hobby accused Cracknell of paedophilia and set up bogus websites in his name.
Poulton’s journalistic “methods” include the use of aggressive intimidation. In a breath-takingly hypocritical article for the Daily Express on 7 August 2013, “How I unmasked my vile Twitter trolls”, she said: “Several computer technicians I work with set to work tracing my attackers.” Then she describes how she rang someone whose number she had been given by “a mutual contact”:
An insipid voice answered. I gave my name. His silence was palpable. Suddenly all the rage and fear of being threatened and smeared came tumbling out. For the next five minutes I barely paused to catch breath as I screamed at him.
Screaming at someone is not genuine investigative reporting, of course.
And who can forget the following exchange with a hapless critic of her McCann theories, who uses the Twitter handle “urcrazytoo”? Poulton wrote to Lee and this critic at 3.23 a.m. on 1 February 2015:
I’ve told you about this one, Lee, thinks it’s anonymous but we know different, eh? Lol #smileforcamera
On 2 February 2015 at 10.52, Lee sent urcrazytoo a photo of him holding a large submachine gun, saying:
I am not the COWARD who has to hide and trust me, you do not possess the ammo to defeat me
I wonder where Lee keeps his arsenal, these days.
Baker briefly shot to fame on 26 May 2015 when she waived her statutory right to anonymity and claimed to have been abused by a bevy of unnamed Lords, judges and policemen on Cannock Chase as a little girl, along with seven other little girls. She also claimed to have been abused overnight in a flat in Dolphin Square in London. Britain’s credulous MSM dutifully repeated her sensational allegations, which were syndicated as far away as Australia and Germany.
As critics were not slow to point out, there were problems with Baker’s account. Other social media profiles had shown her as a happily married woman, who had run a wedding stationery business after school and university, alongside her husband’s pub business. She had since gone to work, variously, at a bookies in Liverpool and as an Avon lady.
To complicate matters, she had one week earlier, on 19 May 2015, posted a blog about her alleged experiences which differed markedly from her subsequent media interviews:
My name is Esther ******* and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse both within the family and organised abuse by a paedophile ring in which my father was a part. My abuse started at the age of three. By the age of six I was being regularly raped and abused by various men, some of whom have been identified as “VIP” abusers. By the age of 13/14 I had become pregnant by my father and had a violent, forced abortion. After this my father left the family as I was too old for him and his “friends”. I found security and attention from what now would be termed as grooming gangs. At the age of 14 I was found in a car with a 60 year old man by the police. I was called a slag & the man was advised to “watch his wallet”. For the next 7-8 years I was passed from group to group, was forced to sleep with hundreds of men and I thought this was totally normal. Once I tried to escape – I ran to another part of the country but I was tracked down and “transferred”.
One of the men who I was told to sleep with paid these men and officially bought me. I was with this man for the next 10 years, married him, was beaten regularly by him, was passed around for his friends to rape and treated me like the animal I thought I was. I was only allowed in the bedroom when he wanted to use me and I spent many nights locked naked either in the dog crate or under the stairs. Does any of this shock you? Good. This is a reality for many more survivors out there then you could ever imagine. I am one of millions.
Both as a child, and in my adult life my abuse was filmed. There must still be many recordings out there and that thought never fails to fill me with shame.
Just over 16 months ago I got away. It took many services to teach me that what had happened and how I lived wasn’t right. It took them 16 months to convince me of this after I came to their attention after being mugged one night & the police seeing that I was covered in old bruises. After my husband tried to strangle me and dumped me in a garden the police moved me to ***. My house is full of panic buttons & I still live in fear everyday that one of many men from my past will one day find me and take me back. That is my life. This is me!!
Thus far, no one has been charged in relation to any of her above claims.
Baker’s Twitter account teems with cat memes, aggressive attacks on perceived critics, and various self-justifying statements. She seems to resent any questioning or critical comment – or even ridicule – once famously tweeting a critic:
I have a problem with you talking about me when you know nothing.
This spectacularly misses the point. Anyone is entitled to discuss, debate, criticise and indeed mock someone who barged her way into the media spotlight in such a dramatic and contentious fashion as Baker, who at one stage was trying (using the alias Brooke Lafayette) to get herself nominated to the Victims and Survivors’ Panel of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse, and who has since managed to get Core Participant Status at the said Inquiry.
She cannot, on the one hand, court worldwide publicity and, at the same time, try to stop people talking about her because she doesn’t like their reaction to her extravagant claims. (The same considerations equally apply to Poulton, an inveterate publicity-monger, of course).
To continue: in March 2016, Baker complained to me about alleged online harassment by various men, though she did not go into details. She also showed me a couple of tweets purporting to come from Mr Laverty about me, which were admittedly rude. I had occasionally tweeted with him and understood him to be a former inmate of Bryn Estyn. His style could be abrasive, but his directness did not bother me. I used to respond to him in a mildly sardonic fashion.
As a weary veteran of “hope you get raped” tweets and such threatening communications as “Barbara Hewson, be afraid, be very afraid” and “I want to cut her up and play with her organs”, the Laverty tweets (assuming they really were from him) struck me as comparatively small beer. So, I told Baker that life was too short. I also suggested that she take a holiday from Twitter, which she adamantly refused to do, claiming that she wanted to raise awareness about abuse.
An astonishing development
Time rolled on. I was deeply distracted by various personal matters. It was not until the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January 2017 that I learnt the astonishing news that not only had both Poulton and Baker managed to get Mr Laverty twice arrested by the Met and charged with online stalking, but that another blogger named Mr Just had been arrested by the Met as well.
It seemed that Mr Laverty was facing trial in Kingston Crown Court, and that Mr Just had been arrested on 4 January 2017, only two days earlier, following more accusations by Baker.
That made me sit up. What on earth had been going on? I decided to start asking around. What I learnt caused me very grave concern. And almost immediately, I found myself subjected to what can only be described as a tsunami of harassment.
Call me cynical, but I don’t believe that this was coincidence.
Tomorrow I will explain in more detail why I have reached this conclusion, in the second part of this post. I will also outline in more detail how Phillimore – and Davis – slotted themselves into this extraordinary saga.
Some parting thoughts
Before I leave you, I should tell you three things which I consider are material. First, since May 2016, Phillimore had allied herself aggressively with various troll supporters of Baker and of the notorious Nick (of Operation Midland) on Twitter. I was aghast at the time that she would do this, not least as some of them had been hounding me with malicious communications relating to the death of a parent, and about other members of my family. Indeed, I had reported a number of these malicious actors to the police in January 2016, because it had become so nasty that I feared a family grave might be vandalised. I had also had to take an extended period of time off work.
Second, since May 2016, Phillimore had been calling on these trolls – who can fairly be described as the lunatic fringe – to report me to my regulator. That is very nasty.
Third, in the long vacation of 2016, Baker and Phillimore participated with others (including some of these malicious actors) in a “troll attack” on both the organiser and host of a talk at which I was billed as a panellist, and which Baker dubbed “pro-paedophile”.
I regard this as orchestrated harassment. I stress this because it is hypocritical and dishonest of either Baker or Phillimore to portray themselves as “victims” of online harassment, when nothing could be further from the truth. They are aggressors, and they know it. I take no pleasure in pointing this out.
To be continued.
Up-dated 19th December.