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

Ergun Yasar will be sentenced next week

A man from Crouch End has admitted being part of a gang which cheated a casino in Paddington out of thousands of pounds by ‘card swapping’.

Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Junior doctors have walked out of the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals for the second time in weeks over contract disputes.

Yesterday, 21:05
Haringey Council Civic Centre

Haringey Council has U-turned on its plan to close a loophole allowing families to secure places for their children at some of the borough’s most popular schools even after moving miles away from catchment areas.

Yesterday, 17:29
Tulip Siddiq with volunteers from Royal Free young volunteers programme

Inspirational young volunteers were praised in parliament for their ‘amazing’ contribution to the Royal Free NHS trust.

Yesterday, 15:35
Police in Highgate issued the warning last week. Picture: PA

Neighbourhood police in Highgate have issued a warning about suspicious activity in the area.

Yesterday, 15:00
Rosemary Leeke speaking at Regent High opening

The headteacher at Regent High School has announced her retirement after leading the Camden school for 13 years.

Yesterday, 14:08
Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a re-think. Picture: PA

A Montessori training centre which helps female convicts who have babies in jail has welcomed the Prime Minister’s call for a re-think into the way the prison system treats pregnant women.

Yesterday, 12:13
Neal Wilkinson, Nick Mason, Karl Brazil, Ash Soan

Pink Floyd’s drummer was among the artists who appeared at a special workshop at Camden’s Roundhouse.

Most read 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

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe