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Episode 5

The Healer

The Healer


Alexi and his producer fly to Morocco to confront Abraham Christie – and learn dark secrets about his past


Alexi Mostrous, narrating: Just a quick note before we start. The following episode contains descriptions of sexual and physical abuse of children as well as strong language and graphic violence.

Alexi, narrating: When Ella Draper stopped taking my calls this summer, I turned my attention to her former partner, Abraham Christie. 

The man that she’d met in early 2014, just a few months before her children made their allegations about satanic abuse.

Abraham’s really the only other person who can answer my big question: why did this all happen? 

I wanted to find him to ask him that, but also, to be honest, I was infuriated.

Infuriated that he’s been living beyond justice for years now, despite what we know he did to Ella’s children. 

The police missed their chance to arrest him in 2014 and now, eight years later he seems to have got away Scot free. 

So, in late July, in the middle of the hottest summer in years, Gemma and I find ourselves on a 5am budget flight to Morocco. 

Plane Announcement: From all of us on board, we would like to you a good stay. 

And for those who are returning welcome home.

Alexi, narrating: With its ancient alleyways and unmarked streets, Marrakech is the perfect place for someone to hide. 

So, when we get off the plane, we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to track Abraham down, whether this is going to be a wasted trip. 

But we have to try. 

From Tortoise, I’m Alexi Mostrous and this is Hoaxed.  Episode five, The Healer

For the past few weeks – we’ve worked with our colleague Xavier Greenwood– to triangulate Abraham’s whereabouts.

Here’s what we know. 

We know he lives in a riad somewhere in an area of Marrakech called Sidi Bin Slimane. It’s in the old part of the city, known as the Medina. 

We know he lives really near a mosque. On Abraham’s social media, there are photos taken from the balcony of his riad that show the mosque in the background – it’s got this distinctive triangular shaped roof. 

And we know he hangs out with a young guy whose name, we think, is Zakaria. From the Instagram photos we can see that he and Abraham travel together, they might even live together. Pictures show them both drinking hemp juice and holding these huge marijuana plants.

We send all of this information to our fixer, Nadia, just a few days before we fly. By the way, Nadia’s not her real name, we’ve changed it to protect her identity. 

Nadia: I mean, based on the documents you sent me, the pictures. I been asking first

People who are from the Medina close to this riad, Bini Sidi Slimane.

Alexi, narrating: A fixer is someone who helps out journalists on the ground. In situations like this, they’re absolutely critical. 

Gemma and I could spend weeks wandering around Marrakech and find nothing. Whereas Nadia, she knows Morocco inside out.

From the moment Nadia receives our dossier on Abraham, she’s been making calls to her contacts in Marrakech.

Asking if they’ve ever come across an older British guy, skinny, who sells hemp juice. And, she gets results.

Nadia: So, I find out that he’s not very known there, but he have like a kind of private circle, but he’s known as someone who’s healing people through seeds, through cannabis.

Alexi, narrating: Nadia’s found people who’ve come across Abraham in Marrakesh.

Nadia: And I found out, someone told me ‘This is not Ibrahim, this is Abraham’ and he’s from UK…

Alexi, narrating: And amazingly, one of her friends has actually met him, or at least, someone who sounds very similar.

Alexi: You’ve found that he is here.

Nadia: Yeah, he is here, he is in Marrakech. He apparently don’t look like the pictures, he’s older.

Alexi: So, your close friend, let me see if I can get this right. Your close friend met Abraham. Directly.

Nadia: Yeah. Directly. 

Alexi: And how are you sure he’s the same guy that we’re looking for?

Nadia: Because before the show, uh, my friend, the picture he sent me, he was describing this guy, this tiny, skinny brown skin guy, uh, that could be aggressive. The way he talks is aggressive. 

Alexi, narrating: Well, that certainly sounds like Abraham. Small, skinny, aggressive.

Ella’s family court judgement in 2015, revealed that Abraham had a long criminal background, in and out of prison for drugs offences and violence.

In 2014 he’d even received a police caution for assaulting his teenage son. 

So, when Nadia describes a skinny aggressive guy, it feels like we’re on the right track.

Alexi: Right so let’s talk stages. So stage one, is he still here? 

Nadia: Yeah.

Alexi: If he is still here, stage two is where exactly.

And then stage three is how are we gonna meet him?… 

Nadia: but first of all, I think we should meet my friend because he can talk about his experience with Abraham.

Gemma: So, Alexi would you just pop those on for me. 

Alexi: Yep

Alexi, narrating: At the end of our first day in Marrakesh, our fixer persuades her friend to talk to us. 

He’s nervous, so we meet him away from his usual hangouts, this very weird ex-pat bar, a place with low ceilings and leather sofas and, as you can hear, a stereo playing non-stop Elvis. 

We’ve repitched the friend’s voice to protect his identity 

Alexi: So basically, we are trying to find this guy, Abraham Christie, and. If I, if I just start by playing you this video of Abraham Christie, and you can tell me what you think, whether you’ve seen this guy before. 

Alexi, narrating: I play a video I’ve found of Abraham, looking super lean for a man in his sixties, in a courtyard of what looks like a riad. 

He’s topless and he’s skipping with one of those ropes that boxers train with, he’s pretty good too.

Zak: At this video, he looks like super fit before. But like last time when I met him, he wasn’t like this, he wasn’t that fit.

Alexi: So, who is the guy in the video that you you’ve just seen? 

Zak: Uh, he is one of the dealers that I’m getting like weed from it, but like, he is not, he’s saying that he is not a dealer. He’s a healer.

Alexi: And you know, this guy by what name? 

Zak: Abraham

Alexi, narrating: Bingo. It’s definitely Abraham.

And even better, Nadia’s friend says he’s actually visited Abraham’s riad in person, he went there to buy some weed.

Abraham doesn’t sell weed in small amounts mind you, according to Nadia’s friend the minimum you can buy is 100 euros.

Zak: When you wanna like do a consultation at his, of his place and then buy the weed and everything. He’s like, he’s telling you that he’s super expensive.

Alexi, narrating: This all reminds me of that scene in Pulp Fiction, the Quentin Tarantino classic, where Vincent Vega, the main character, goes to buy some heroin from his dealer.

The dealer offers him something called Madman. It’s the best of the best.  

This is essentially where Abraham seems to have positioned himself. A dealer selling the most expensive weed, Madman quality weed, to discerning clientele in Marrakech. 

Zak:  The first time I met him, like at, at his riad I was like super impressed because like he’s a super interesting guy. 

Alexi, narrating: Nadia’s friend seems almost charmed by Abraham, something I wasn’t expecting, to be honest. 

Zak: He’s super cultivated. Even the way, how he look.

Alexi: Why did you find him so interesting. 

Zak: He read a lot of books in his life, he must like travel a lot about around the world. 

Alexi, narrating: This was a different side to the violent bully who I’d read about in the family court judgement or the police investigation report. 

A side of Abraham that perhaps explains why Ella was attracted to him

And it tallies with what other people told me too.

Someone who knows Abraham from back in the 90s described him as this weird mix of mystical savant and hardened criminal. A man obsessed by chemistry and literature whose favourite book is Dune, the epic science fiction novel from the 1960s.

Back in the UK, Abraham sold hemp juice smoothies on an East London market stall. He promoted them as potions which could heal all sorts of ailments. And he boasted that he had an honorary doctorate in nutrition, whatever that means. 

And it seems like in Morocco, he’s playing up to this side of his personality. The mystical savant.

Abraham sells cannabis, but he’s a healer, not a dealer. Then, just before we stop the recording, Nadia’s friend mentions a detail from his meeting with Abraham that kind of stuns me.

A single disturbing detail that I have come across again and again and again in this investigation.

Zak: The first time when I saw him, he was wearing also like at least two and half or three kilos of silver, like lot 

Alexi: Silver jewellery? 

Zak: Yeah, yeah, lot of necklaces, lot of the rings and stuff like that.

but like, the one that attracts me so much, it was like the one with the, he had, uh, that necklace with the pendant pedant as a spoon, big spoon, 

Alexi: A big spoon round his neck?

Zak: Yeah. It’s like, I can say 10 centimetres or like spoon that you use in your kitchen to eat with.

Alexi, narrating: Abraham wears a large silver spoon around his neck. 

It’s a detail that was deeply unsettling to me.

Because when Ella’s children first made their allegations to the police, in September 2014, they said their father, and the cult members, hit them with spoons.  

Child P: If we say it hurts or if we cry or make a sound. They’ll give us spoon licks. So, they’ll get spoon, 

Police Officer: Spoon licks. What does that mean?

Child P: So, they get spoons and then they hit us, hit us, hit us on our head

Alexi, narrating: Later on, they admit it’s actually Abraham who hits them with spoons.

Child P: But he, he gave us, he didn’t hurt us, but he got spoons and gave us not hard, hard licks. He gave us the soft licks 

Police Officer: Who did?

Child P: Abraham.

Alexi, narrating: We need to go back for a moment, back a decade or so, 

Because long before Ella’s children spoke to the police, Abraham faced similar accusations of violence against him. 

Violence that allegedly included hitting children with spoons. 

In the 1990s, long before he got together with Ella, Abraham had been married, to a woman who we’ll call Cindy. 

Abraham has his own children with Cindy and was also a stepfather to her kids from a previous partner. 

For years, what happened during that relationship remained behind closed doors.

Then, in the summer of 2015, a few months after the hoax started, one of those stepchildren posted a message on the anti-hoax blog run by Karen Irving, the mystery novelist from Canada. 

It was a message to the conspiracy theorists saying, ‘Don’t believe this stuff.’ 

Saying “I know Aby and what he’s capable of.” Aby is her name for Abraham, by the way. 

We’ve asked an actor to voice her messages. Just a warning, it’s a bit upsetting 

Voice Actor: This little girl is not lying he did the same to me and my family. Aby is an evil man with no feelings when you cry, he licks you more

Alexi, narrating: She posted again a few weeks later. 

Voice Actor: Abraham Christie is the man who filmed these poor children. I know as he was my stepdad from hell, he abused me and my brothers and sisters and made my brother lie to social services back in the nineties, saying that my dad was an abuser which was a lie. 

He destroyed our lives, took all of my mother’s money and this disgusts me that he is doing this all over again

Alexi, narrating: According to the stepdaughter, Abraham forced one of the stepchildren to make up allegations of sexual abuse against their real father and this was years before Hampstead. 

Seven years after that message was posted – this summer in fact – Abraham gets into a HUGE fight with his former family on Instagram. 

It seems like he’s fallen out with Cindy over the Moroccan riad. It’s a place they own together and which Cindy, but not Abraham, wants to sell. 

On Instagram, Abraham publicly accuses Cindy of being a witch; of using a Ouija board; and most seriously of covering up the sexual abuse of her children.

The children rise to her defence. They counter Abraham’s posts with allegations of their own. Again, this is an actor.

Voice Actor 2: You’re a narcissist. I don’t expect you to own up to your actions. You beat me numerous times at Finsbury Road. 

I remember as children we had to go into protective housing as you battered our mother.

Alexi, narrating: He accuses Abraham of physical abuse. 

Voice Actor 2: “Just to make the world aware, this man beat me, my siblings, and my mum for years. Broken ribs, beaten so bad that we were unable to sit down for days. Mentally he also tortured us, if we didn’t agree with him, he would lash out.

“I realised to make him stop, just say what he wanted to hear. 

Alexi, narrating: After investigating this story for months, that one line from Abraham’s stepson haunts me: to make him stop, just say what he wanted to hear

At the end of September, just as we are putting this episode together, some members of Abraham’s former family get in touch. They’ve heard the first episodes of the podcast and want to give me more details about his alleged abuse. 

The former family members told me that Abraham hit Cindy over the head with the back of a knife, hit her with metal bars, dug his fingers into her eyes and into the eyes of her children.

Slapped her children in the face and twisted their ears and made them write statements to social workers. Falsified statements about sexual abuse. 

And the allegation that chilled me most was that Abraham hit Cindy repeatedly over the head…with a big silver spoon. 

I should be clear; I wasn’t able to fully verify what the family told me. I’ve seen one official document which refers to Abraham’s violence towards his ex-wife. But it’s not comprehensive. 

Then again, evidence is often hard to get in cases of alleged domestic abuse – sometimes documentation just doesn’t exist. 

Abraham has called all of the allegations relating to his stepchildren and to his former partner “evil lies”. He admits online to disciplining his children, smacking them but denies that he ever abused them as violently as they allege. 

To me – hearing all this in the last few weeks it makes it even MORE astonishing that the police failed to even question Abraham before he fled the country in February 2015.  

After all, Ella’s kids had told the police the previous September that he’d hit them repeatedly, including with spoons. And here I am discovering that he allegedly did exactly the same thing to a former partner, and to her children too. 

It wouldn’t have taken much for the police to talk to his former family, to dig a little deeper. But they seem to have missed their chance completely. 

Just before we flew to Morocco, I messaged one of Abraham’s stepchildren to tell him what we were planning. The reply, if I’m honest, put me on edge.

Voice Actor 2: He comes across very charming and he is well educated. Be careful when approaching him, he can be very violent.

Alexi, narrating: This was the first warning I got about Abraham. 

And the second one? 

While I’m sitting in that Elvis-playing bar talking to Nadia’s friend. 

Alexi: Would you be able to show us where the Riad is? 

Zak: Uh, the Riad I really don’t know, but to do what to do, what. You wanna meet him or what? 

Alexi: Yeah. Do you think he’ll, do you think he’ll give us an interview?

Zak: No, for sure. No. Well, as I told you, it’s not safe for you to go there.

Alexi, narrating: When I ask Nadia’s friend if he’d take us to Abraham’s riad he gets cagey, he also says it’s too dangerous to go there. 

And then he stops answering our calls. 

So, the only option is to get out onto the streets and try and find Abraham’s riad myself

It’s really important that I find Abraham, that I speak to him.

Because he’s not just a grifter; not even just an alleged domestic abuser. He’s the architect of an enormous lie, and he’s in the Medina hiding from scrutiny, maybe even hiding from the police. 

Gemma and I trawl the narrow alleyways trying to find that distinctive mosque or anything else that might tell us where Abraham’s riad is. 

Alexi: So, it’s been quite a frustrating day. We started off by moving from our hotel on the outskirts, into the Medina itself into a riad in the Medina, because we wanted to be close to where we knew Abraham was. And then, in the morning we went on a hunt for Abraham’s riad.

We had these pictures, and we were trying to identify it from the ground, but that wasn’t working. It was just a rabbit Warren of streets. So, we tried to get close and then go up, and see what we could see from the rooftops another riad. And we think that we’ve got really close, but close isn’t good enough. We, we couldn’t, we couldn’t find it.

Alexi, narrating: By the next evening, Gemma and I had pretty much given up all hope of finding Abraham’s riad. 

And then, we get a breakthrough.

Did I mention that fixers were really important? Well, there is no way this would have happened without Nadia

Gemma: So, she’s sent us an update.

Alexi: Yeah.

Gemma: Okay. So, she sent a map, and it says I’m at Abraham place now. 

Alexi: She’s at Abraham’s place right now.

Gemma: She’s just sent a photo. 

Alexi: That’s it?

Gemma: Oh my God. That’s what we’ve been looking for. 

Alexi: Shit. She’s there. She’s actually inside. 

Gemma: It looks like it.

Alexi, narrating: Nadia is inside Abraham’s riad with Zakaria, the young guy who is Abraham’s gatekeeper.

This was totally unexpected. 

The day before, we’d discovered a bar that Zakaria hangs out in.

The plan was for Nadia to go there and somehow convince Zak to give her the exact address of the riad. 

Enabling us to go there later and confront Abraham

What we weren’t expecting was for her to go there without us…alone

Alexi: Is Abraham there? It doesn’t say?

Gemma: It doesn’t say.

Alexi, narrating: So, when we get her text, we’re excited but we’re also worried

Because haven’t talked about what happens if something goes wrong, what happens if Abraham turns up and gets violent? 

Alexi: Hey, 

Nadia: Hi, 

Alexi: Come in.

Gemma: Have you got news? 

Nadia: Yeah, I disappeared for like for three hours, or four. How long I’ve been gone. 

Alexi, narrating: And so, we’re relieved, when a few hours later, Nadia returns.

Nadia: It’s been very long, long afternoon.  

Alexi: Tell me what happened. 

Nadia: Okay. Um, so…

Alexi, narrating: She describes a dirty place, somewhere where it looks like people are squatting. Clothes everywhere. 

And there’s something about the riad put her on edge. 

Nadia: You feel a presence, you know, you feel a presence, you feel uncomfortable when you are in it. I mean you can feel there’s a suspicious place to be, you know, you feel uncomfortable being there. I felt like, and at any moment during the conversation with Zakaria, somebody can pop up behind my back and grab me or something, you know.

Alexi, narrating: Nadia felt Abraham’s presence all around her 

But he wasn’t there. 

Alexi: Did he say where he was? 

Nadia: He said he was out of the country, that means Morocco. And he said he is in the UK. 

Alexi: Wow. Shit. So we’ve spent all this time in Morocco trying to find Abraham, and he’s actually in the UK. 

Gemma: Potentially around the corner from us in North London.

Alexi: So, it’s our last day in Morocco. We’re about to go back to the UK and it feels like we got so close to tracking down this guide that we’ve been looking for, literally for months now. We found his riad. We were in his riad, but he’s not there and it’s so frustrating. It feels like he slipped through our fingers, but it is really interesting that he’s in the UK.

Because if he is in the UK, that means the police are much closer to him, and much more able potentially to take action against him than if he was somewhere hidden in an alleyway in Marrakesh.

So, maybe this isn’t the end of the story at all, so much as the beginning of a new chapter.

Alexi, narrating: I’d missed the chance to confront Abraham in Marrakech, but I knew that if he was in the UK, that was a really big deal. 

And I had one more card to play.

Because I’d come from Morocco with a really valuable piece of information. 

A piece of intelligence I’m not even sure the police have. 

Abraham’s Moroccan mobile number. 

Abraham: Hello, Salam Alaikum

Alexi: Oh, uh, hello? Is that Abraham Christie? 

Abraham: Hello?

Alexi, narrating: Next week on the final episode of Hoaxed.

I come full circle and put Ella under the microscope.

Alexi: How much credibility do you give to the narrative that Ella was uh, coercively controlled by Abraham? 

Karen: I don’t really think that’s true. 

Alexi, narrating: And I finally speak to Abraham

Abraham: You are a disingenuous little bugger you are. You’ve got something on your mind. Ask it Alexis. 

Alexi, narrating: Hoaxed was brought to you by me, Alexi Mostrous, Gemma Newby, Imy Harper, and Xavier Greenwood. Sound design was by Eloise Whitmore. Our executive producer is Basia Cummings. Special thanks in this episode to actors Annabel Grace and Joshua Riley.


Alexi Mostrous Reporter and host

Gemma Newby Producer

Xavier Greenwood Reporter

Imy Harper Assistant producer

Eloise Whitmore Sound designer

Tom Kinsella Sound designer

Basia Cummings Executive Producer

Hoaxed music was composed and performed by cellist, Brianna Tam.