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D’Souza trial: Osteopath visited Amazon jungle with alleged shaman fraudster, court hears

14:00 15 May 2014

Juliette D

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

Polly Hancock

A trip to the Amazon jungle convinced an osteopath that alleged con artist Juliette D’Souza was a shaman with special powers, the jury heard this week.

Keith Bender went to Suriname with D’Souza in 1996 where he saw shamans at work and underwent a special “cleansing” ritual, he told Blackfriars Crown Court.

The journey cemented his faith in the defendant’s work and the osteopath would go on to introduce her to many of her alleged victims, the court heard.

During his stay in South America, Mr Bender “felt privileged” to meet a shaman called Pa who was living in a shack in the rainforest.

He underwent a cleansing process by bathing in a pool after being told he had cancer by D’Souza.

He later saw another shaman supposedly freeing a woman from “possession” in a ritual.

Mr Bender also said D’Souza claimed that she was born on a plane, mid-flight, with a caul, a skin membrane, over her face, which meant she was a shaman.

“She told me it was like being born with a silver spoon in her mouth,” he added. “It gave her great advantages, it blessed her with foresight. She could see personal and health problems ahead for people.”

The trial continues.

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