Search

D’Souza trial hears alleged con artist faith healer is “very nice person”

17:24 29 May 2014

Juliette D

Juliette D'Souza outside Blackfriars Crown Court. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

A woman accused of swindling £1million in a bizarre scam involving shamanic faith healing and the Amazon jungle is a “very nice person”, her trial heard this week.

Juliette D’Souza, of Perrin’s Lane, Hampstead, allegedly made a fortune by convincing vulnerable people to part with huge cash “sacrifices”, telling them she was a faith healer who could cure terminal illnesses, enable them to conceive or help their disabled children.

Some victims gave her sums approaching £200,000, believing the money would be sent to the Amazon jungle in Suriname to be hung from a sacred tree, somehow solving their problems, Blackfrairs Crown Court has heard.

But her friend and beauty therapist Danuta Hodgkinson, 55, told the court this week that she has known D’Souza for 25 years and had no knowledge of cash sacrifices or the current trial until she read the newspapers.

“I read an article in the paper, Juliette never told me anything about it, I think she was a bit ashamed, I didn’t know even then – I called her and said what is that all about,” she said.

Ms Hodgkinson insisted D’Souza was not capable of carrying out the alleged fraud.

“She is actually quite level headed, straight talking and a very grounded person,” she said.

She added: “I never met anybody as friendly as Juliette is... She is very nice person, a very nice person indeed.”

Ms Hodgkinson was the only witness called by the defence, after D’Souza decided not to give evidence herself. Judge Ian Karsten QC told the jury: “Ms D’Souza has decided not to give evidence and you are to take from that whatever inferences you might find appropriate.”

D’Souza spent the money on a lavish lifestyle of luxury rented properties, first-class air travel, jewellery and designer handbags, the court has been told.

When two of her victims broke into her home in Willoughby Road, Hampstead, in 2008, they allegedly discovered countless designer shopping bags, seven freezers filled with rotting meat and a caged monkey called Joey.

Prosecutor Benjamin Aina QC described D’Souza as a “professional confidence trickster whose lies have caught up with her”.

He said: “If this was an honest scheme, she would say ‘Yes I am a shaman, yes I took their monies and yes they got what they paid for.

“But it is dishonest and she knows it is dishonest – that’s why she denies doing it because she knows she has gone too far – she has taken too much money.

“And if she was to speak the truth – I am a shaman I was offering this service, the first thing somebody would say to her is ‘hold on a second, why were you asking for £10,000 or £20,000?

“We have heard from an expert that shamans don’t do that, they only taken tokens.

“She boasts, she asks for ridiculous sums of money and the reason? – because it is a con.”

D’Souza denies 23 charges of obtaining property by deception and fraud.

The trial continues.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

10:00
The Hall school  triathlon team

A team of 40 mothers and staff from The Hall School, in Hampstead, are running the Blenheim Triathlon on June 4 to raise money for a Swiss Cottage youth project.

09:16
The man was stabbed in Camden High Street near Greenland Street

A murder investigation has been launched after a man in his 30s died after being stabbed on Camden High Street in the early hours this morning.

Chris Roche wants Muswell Hill Library to stay put. Photo: Polly Hancock

A renowned architect fears the historic library will be moved to the site of the former Green Man pub, rather than adapted for greater disability access

Fri, 12:58
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk with customers and Ham&High reporter Emily Banks, right.       Picture: Polly Hancock

The vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk today thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.

Fri, 11:17
Gabriella with mum Nazanin on her first birthday

A distraught father whose daughter faces her second birthday detained in Iran without her parents has urged children around the world to send her a birthday card.

Fri, 10:56
Victor in Delhi

A ‘smart and popular’ 22-year-old who died in a motorbike crash has been remembered at his former school.

Thu, 18:09
A pole will be located at the end of Nassington  Road by the entrance to Hampstead Heath

New plans for an Orthodox Jewish boundary across Camden have been submitted.

Thu, 15:34
The mystery girl was found wandering in  the evening in Daleham Gardens

Police are trying to trace an 11-year-old girl who was discovered wandering in the street in her pyjamas saying she had run away from home.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe