July 23 2014 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Thursday, May 15, 2014
A woman wept in court as she accused her former faith healer of being a “psychopath” who convinced her to have an abortion by insisting her unborn child was deformed.
The witness, who cannot be named, fought back tears as she told Blackfriars Crown Court of her alleged ordeal at the hands of Juliette D’Souza, who is accused of conning people out of £1million by claiming to be a shaman with supernatural powers.
The woman was overjoyed at becoming pregnant in May 2007, the court heard. But when she informed D’Souza, of Perrin’s Lane, Hampstead, she was allegedly told to “get rid” of the baby.
“She told me the baby was very deformed and ill. That it was sick,” she said.
“She said that I should get rid of the baby. She told me to go to London to have the abortion done.”
D’Souza got a “high” shaman known as Oma to tell her to terminate this pregnancy, it was claimed.
The woman had been trying for three years to conceive and paid £176,000 to the defendant to help her, the jury was told.
She added: “I flew on the day it was terminated. I just cried the whole way and I was in so much pain. It was just so awful, the whole thing.
“Maybe I could not believe what had happened – it was pure evil.”
A few months later she realised that D’Souza was a fake, the jury heard.
The defendant had disappeared and she began to suspect something was wrong.
The woman and osteopath Keith Bender, another alleged victim, broke into D’Souza’s rented house in Willoughby Road, Hampstead, for which she was paying about £8,000 per month, in autumn 2007.
“It looked like somebody who was messing about with some voodoo black magic,” the woman told the court.
They discovered burned photographs, half-buried in earth, seven freezers filled with rotting meat and a monkey in a cage on the first floor, it was alleged.
There were also countless designer shopping bags strewn around the place.
“It was the house of a psychopath,” she said. “I totally believed she had conned people when I walked into that house.
“She had described herself as a very basic person, who didn’t go shopping.
“When I walked in, all I saw were Louis Vuitton bags and Cartier boxes.”
The pair went to Hampstead police station but officers “practically laughed in our faces”, she claimed.
She added that D’Souza, 59, was “the most cruel and evil person I ever came across in my entire life”, and displayed the “typical behaviour of a psychopath” by preying on people at their most vulnerable.
The defendant allegedly told people that their money was being sent to the Suriname jungle to be hung from a sacred tree, somehow solving all manner of problems including cancer.
D’Souza denies 23 charges of obtaining property by deception and fraud.
The trial continues.