Police find alleged attack on foreigner fabricated

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Stroomi Beach in North Tallinn, scene of the alleged attack.
Stroomi Beach in North Tallinn, scene of the alleged attack. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Allegations of an attack on a foreign woman walking her dog last November are unfounded, according to the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA).

According to the information of investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress, the woman who described her alleged attack was businesswoman and Kõue Manor owner Mary Jordan, 49, whose husband is MP Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform).

ERR attempted to reach both Ms Jordan and Mr Kross on Tuesday for comment, but as of Wednesday morning have yet to receive responses from either of them.

Story first circulated last autumn

In late November 2018, entrepreneur Karoli Hindriks posted a story on her social media page alleging that an American woman, whom Ms Hindriks said was a friend, had been out walking her dog in Tallinn and speaking on her phone, presumably in English. Two Estonian men are alleged to have thrown rocks at both the woman and the dog, injuring both, while exhorting the victim to go home, again in English. Ms Hindriks stated that the alleged victim related the incident to her in a phone call.

The events, also offered to the media for publication, including ERR News, as part of an opinion piece, were said to have taken place on Stroomi Beach, a popular recreation spot in Põhja-Tallinn.

The victim reportedly went to the PPA a day after Ms Hindriks' social media post. The ensuing PPA investigation, including security camera footage analysis, mobile phone analysis, witness statements and interviews with the alleged victim, a 49-year-old woman, gave nothing to suggest a legitimate case.

Events didn't match up

"It soon became clear that the alleged victim's testimony did not tally with evidence gathered by PPA investigators, including from the scene," said Kaido Saarniit, head of Tallinn's city centre PPA station.

"The woman gave a contradictory statement which changed over time, and did not indicate that she was present in the vicinity of the alleged attack," Mr Saarniit went on.

As a result of the misleading information, criminal proceedings have been initiated under the section of the Estonian penal code concerning false statements, it is reported.

"The evidence gathered demonstrates that the statement given by the woman during interview is false - for example, there is no evidence from any security camera that the woman's car was driven to Stroomi Beach, and the woman's mobile phone location showed that she was not in the Stroomi Beach area at that time," District Prosecutor Natalia Lebed said.

In light of the incident, Kaido Saarniit recommends people ensure that information including anecdotes of this kind is true and accurate, before sharing on social media.

An opinion piece entitled "Estonia has become angry," authored by Ms Hindriks, appeared in online magazine Estonian World on 16 December. The article repeats the anecdote of the alleged attack on the woman dog walker.

Karoli Hindriks is founder and CEO of Jobbatical, a platform matching job-seekers with potential employers, principally in the tech industry.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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