I thought it might help to outline the backdrop to Baker’s pursuit of Mr Laverty and others.
It’s quite a tangled web, and others have written about it. This is my attempt at explication.
We know that after she left her husband, Baker moved from Rotherham to Liverpool and had counselling from an organisation there called RASA. After a meeting in London, where she met Graham Wilmer, she switched allegiance to Wilmer’s Lantern Project.
Thereafter, as one political blogger commented, Baker and Wilmer were joined at the hip. As I shall go on to show, they have a particular antipathy to certain male survivors of abuse.
The Project used a controversial therapy technique called Unstructured Disclosure Therapy (UDT) for a syndrome which it has labelled “Psychosexual Trauma Disorder”.
In an article for the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers’ newsletter in 2013, Wilmer had described it as something which had been devised by him and fellow survivors. It can fairly be called “homespun”, therefore. It has not, so far as I know, been subjected to any independent clinical trials or scrutiny.
It offers six stages, of which two are notable:
In the second stage, ‘Peer Disclosure’, we explain in appropriately graphic detail exactly what happened to us. This reassures the survivor that we already know what happened to them, because we have been through the same trauma. This provides a bridge of trust over which they can walk – removing any fears they have about what they might be expected to tell us, and how we might react.
Stage five, ‘Reconciliation’, addresses the need survivors have for some form of reconciliation, which is usually in the form of compensation for the abuse, or punishment of the perpetrators.
I am not the only person to find the emphasis on sharing “appropriately graphic detail” troubling. And how could any person “already know what happened” to someone else?
It is also difficult to see how embarking on a legal process, such as suing or prosecuting someone, could really be said to be reconciling. Possibly, this emphasis on a legal route is why this article featured in an ACAL newsletter.
The Times investigation
According to two articles in the Times on 18 October 2015, the Project had helped not only Baker, but another Exaro accuser using the pseudonym “Darren”.
A consultant psychiatrist told the Times:
“The therapist or counsellor should not be divulging vast amounts about their own lives and pushing that onto the patient. It’s very confusing.”
He commented: “they’ve obviously gone completely haywire.”
The respected legal blogger Matthew Scott was also scathing about Stage Two of UDT:
“It would be hard to devise a form of counselling more fraught with the danger of producing unreliable evidence than one in which therapists prompt their ‘patients’ to disclose sexual abuse by telling them in graphic detail about their own experiences. It’s crazy from a forensic point of view.”
Baker in fact underwent the stage Five part of UDT at the Lantern Project. So, it is possible that she was prompted to make accusations as a consequence of that therapy.
In the press reports of her claims of “ritual” abuse in May 2015, the fact that she was receiving help from the Lantern Project was always mentioned: in one exclusive interview she called on fellow victims to contact either the police or the Lantern Project.
Baker then set up a survivors’ group, called Reflections, which nominated the Lantern Project to receive its assets if it folded (as it subsequently did).
Having failed to initiate a criminal prosecution of anybody in connection with her various claims, I gather she is now suing, and is herself facing a counterclaim. Meanwhile, Wilmer has been sued by two people.
This legal conflict is part of the remarkably destructive fallout from the White Flowers campaign, heavily promoted by some Labour MPs, which in 2014 demanded that a national inquiry be set up into institutional child abuse.
I have previously blogged on how Tom Watson MP had started the original scare-mongering, shortly after the Savile scandal broke in 2012, when he claimed to have information on a “paedophile ring” going to the heart of government. This was, essentially, the same baleful conspiracy theory that Andrea Davison believes in.
Fireworks at the IICSA
Theresa May’s decision to set up such an inquiry is a sobering illustration of the old saw, Be careful what you wish for.
Wilmer had been appointed to the original inquiry panel along with Barbara Hearn (a very close personal friend of Tom Watson’s family, who had also worked as an unpaid researcher for Watson for two years), and Sharon Evans of the Dot Com Charity, which went on to give Baker a “lifetime achievement” award in 2016.
The inquiry’s progress (or lack thereof) was beset by infighting between different survivors and survivor groups, which has even been likened to the One Hundred Years’ war.
The Guardian published a piece on the hostilities on 6 December 2014, mentioning that Wilmer was in dispute with a survivor named Mr Andi Lavery, who had previously had contact with the Lantern Project in 2013.
Mr Lavery complained of an e-mail dated 5 November 2014 that Wilmer sent him, which he said he found threatening. Wilmer countered that:
he was provoked into emailing Lavery by a social media row between a separate abuse victim and his adult son, Rory, who had sought to confront those who criticised his father’s place on the panel.
Pay careful attention to Wilmer’s admission, that his son Rory had sought to confront critics. Rory is a photographer in Prague, and a former Fathers for Justice activist. You will learn more about Rory’s methods later in this post.
On 28 January 2015, the Survivors’ Alliance made a formal complaint to the Home Secretary which articulated a raft of serious concerns.
Amongst many matters, it said that Hearn and Evans displayed “a deeply naïve attitude towards survivors and groups that support them” and “a viewpoint that challenging views ‘should be directly corrected or ignored’”. It commented that these two panellists had had unquestioned support from Wilmer.
It drew attention to the fact that “Becky” (who was, in reality, Baker) “was approached by two panel members after a listening event, and [..] subsequently corresponded with them via email ‘being able to tell the truth for the first time’. A petition has been set up, promoted through Exaro News and the Sunday People, which is encouraging people to support the panel and her ‘champion’ Sharon Evans.”
It also complained of confidential e-mails being disclosed which evinced negative attitudes to other survivors including the co-Chairs of the Survivors Alliance. It explained that: “Named individuals/ survivors have been subjected to social media hate campaigns as a result of disclosures and negative attitudes expressed by some panel members.”
The list of signatories to the letter was long. It included Andi Lavery, Ian McFadyen, Peter McKelvie, Dr Liz Davies, Phil Frampton, Nigel O’Mara, Chris Tuck, and David Greenwood, a solicitor from the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
Once the New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard agreed to become Chair of the IICSA on 4 February 2015, the existing panel was disbanded. Both Wilmer and Baker were bitter about this, and seemingly blamed Ben Emmerson QC, counsel to the Inquiry (who was later to be the subject of a smear campaign).
In the second week of February 2015, Wilmer posted correspondence relating to Mr Lavery online. The Times reported that Wilmer had been reported to the police, but he was defiant.
On May 4 2015, Rory had tweeted his father on his Twitter handle @RAW_PRAHA:
“I got the algorithm from social media foundation today to show the social connections. Will publish maps after arrests 😀”
Wilmer re-tweeted this post on his Twitter handle @WilmerMbe.
Later that summer, I noticed that Rory Wilmer had set up a website, which was openly monitoring some bloggers and tweeters – including me! The common thread between us was that we were willing to question Exaro’s claims, and to defend the concepts of due process and the presumption of innocence, which by then were in danger of being extinguished by Operation Yewtree, and the “I Believe Her” mantra being promoted by the police and the CPS.
The others being subjected to Rory’s astonishing surveillance from abroad were Rabbitaway, Anna Raccoon, BarristerBlog, Barths’ Notes, and Moor Facts. Rory was also monitoring two other tweeters, Helen Owen and James Harrison.
In addition, Rory was using a computer programme called NodeXL to track our output and interactions on Twitter. The resulting graphs he also published on his website.
In August 2015, I noticed Wilmer pere tweeting very aggressively:
“…bet their hard drives would be worth looking at”
“Cops are giving ‘team paedo’ a good coat of looking at. Can’t wait for the next event to occur. Justice is coming.
“Won’t be long before we can scrape them off our boots, like the doggy doo they are! Justice is coming!”
“When the verdicts are in, ‘team paedo’ will be exposed and vilified. We didn’t come this far to be soiled by you who hide in dark corners”
He posted about “maggots” and “children of the night”.
He also tweeted about Mr Lavery and Mr McFadyen in an overtly hostile vein, calling them “Scottish trolls” and “wankers”:
“there are plans to wake them up. Tick tock!”
This appears to have been in retaliation for these survivors joining the complaint to the Home Secretary, earlier in the year.
Wilmer tweeted Mark Watts, Editor-in-Chief of Exaro:
“I hope you also expose the vile trolls and their links to the dark forces. I intend to anyway.”
Wilmer hailed his son, a person named Marc Smith (who had developed the NodeXL programme) and Watts as “Team Data”.
On 23 August 2015, Wilmer tweeted:
“It’s time to expose the deviants who support ‘Team Paedo’. Proud to be me. Always was.”
I tweeted him:
“Who exactly are you referring to, please, Graham? I can e-mail you about this, if you prefer.”
It seems that someone prevailed on Wilmer pere to lock his Twitter account. Rory’s is now deleted. Time rolled on.
Matthew Scott has more recently called Rory’s NodexL efforts “Rory Wilmer’s mad charts”:
Barths’ Notes had also observed in 2017:
“I imagine a mad wall covered in screenshot printouts, avatar photos and clippings, connected with lots of bits of string”
Wilmer resumes hostilities
In February 2017, Wilmer became active again on Twitter, tweeting as The Lantern Project. On 15 February 2017, he sent my Wikipedia entry to Goodwin, who was escalating attacks on me, having requested a DM conversation.
It was clear that there was more mischief afoot though, at the time, I was unsure exactly what.
In fact, though I was unaware of this until very much later, Wilmer then fired off an extraordinary complaint about me to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) on 23 February 2017.
He alleged that I was interfering in live police investigations; that I had defamed “survivors whom we support” (the “survivors” were not specifically identified); that I was defaming Rory (which was absurd), and that I had tweeted a link to a blog written by Mr Just, published as long ago as December 29, 2015.
That blog had discussed Wilmer’s role in the IICSA, the Lantern’s methods and its links with Baker. I attach a link to it below, and readers may make their own minds up about its merits.
As I noted at the start of this post, the Times had already been investigating the Lantern Project’s unorthodox therapy, and Baker’s connection with this particular charity, in October 2015. This was a matter of general interest.
I should also point out that Wilmer’s formal complaint to the BSB was made less than three weeks after I had been asked to be a defence witness in R v Laverty, in which Baker was the co-complainant.
That’s a very striking coincidence – if, indeed, it is a coincidence. You will forgive me, if I incline to doubt that it was. Rather, it looked as though Wilmer and Baker were engaging in a pre-emptive attack.
You may also like to know that Wilmer had previously reported his critic, Mr Lavery, who was a psychiatric nurse by profession, to the NMC. Wilmer also reported a volunteer at the Lantern Project who was registered with the HPC, after that person had had the temerity to ask for a salaried post.
In a handwritten addendum to his BSB complaint about me, Wilmer expressly referred to Mr Just’s arrest by the Metropolitan Police on 4 January 2017, following their interviews of Baker and Wilmer the previous day.
As I have explained in an earlier blog, the Met had by-passed its usual protocol, when it accepted at face value Baker’s assertion that Mr Just operated a Twitter handle @scsidrive and the Twitterati blog, both of which were critical of Baker.
Thus, the Met should have first sought information directly from Twitter and from the host of the blog, to identify who the operators of these outlets were, before it could properly identify a suspect, or suspects.
Wilmer went on falsely to accuse me of “a clear attempt to pervert the course of justice” (PCJ) and to intimidate both him and Baker in their criminal complaint against Mr Just, who as I have explained in an earlier post, was Mr Laverty’s defence witness in R v Laverty.
That case, as I have explained in earlier posts, had involved allegations of online stalking and harassment against Mr Laverty by the conspiracy theorist Sonia Poulton, and Esther Baker.
Wilmer’s allegation of PCJ about me to the BSB was obviously as untenable as it was far-fetched. If Wilmer really believed that I was committing public justice offence/s, he should have raised his concerns with the police, and not the BSB – which, self-evidently, is not responsible for the operation of the criminal justice system in England and Wales.
Similarly, it was not open to him to make allegations of libel – on behalf of third parties – against me to a legal regulator. That was obviously misconceived.
It won’t surprise to you to learn that I put in a very forceful rebuttal of his complaint against me, after it was eventually communicated to me in March 2018. This was over a year later – an astonishing delay. At present, I remain in the dark as to what is happening to this matter.
Unfortunately for Wilmer and Baker, their criminal complaints against Mr Just got nowhere. He was NFA’d on 2 June 2017.
By then, the CPS had canned the case of R v Laverty on 23 May 2017. Mr Laverty had been formally acquitted, and awarded his costs.
There is nothing that I could have done that could have affected these outcomes, one way or the other. It is ludicrous to suggest otherwise.
Wilmer’s hit-list got longer
Now let’s wrap up this rather long post. As I shall show, during the course of 2017, Wilmer continued to post tweets aggressively attacking perceived opponents.
On 12 April that year, he attacked me in a tweet that was as defamatory as it was threatening:
“Hewson has been harassing myself and other survivors for the past two years. Still don’t know why for sure, but events will expose her soon.”
Then, on 14 April, he went after Mr McFadyen again:
“Bollocks – you knew exactly what you were doing. When the MPS arrested Simon Just and Darren Laverty, they seized their devices. Worried?”
“I did answer you – but you had malicious intent. Nothing to do with helping protect children. You fucked the IICSA. Well done mate.”
On 24 September 2017, not long after the CPS indicated that it would not be taking Baker’s allegations about the former Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming any further, he published the following abusive post:
“Ian McFadyen, Darren Laverty, Andy Lavery, Babs Hewson and all the other toxic trolls who trying so hard to say discredit victims”
It is madness to suggest that I could in any way be responsible for the CPS’ decision in relation to John Hemming, incidentally. I trust reasonable readers can appreciate this.
On 14 October 2017, he tweeted in a menacing vein:
“Ian McFadyen, Andy Lavery, Simon Just, Barbara Hewson and the rest of John Hemming’s CSA saboteurs will eventually be brought to justice”
He also fired off the following threat:
“Oh and one other thing. If any of you tossers who have slagged off Esther Baker think that there will be no consequences – good luck!”
It can fairly be said that Wilmer and, dare I say it, Baker have a vindictive streak. That is all I will say – for now.
Good night all.
Up-dated 16 January 2019.