Conman 'psychoanalyst' from Camden must 'never be able to commit crime again' says victim
PUBLISHED: 13:25 21 July 2016 | UPDATED: 13:20 09 October 2017
A woman conned out of thousands of pounds by a "manipulative psychoanalyst" who won her trust in radical therapy sessions has said she hopes he will "never be able to commit crime again".
The vulnerable victim spoke out after American national Tony Cochran, described in court as “cunning and deceitful”, was found guilty of fraud, theft and blackmail by a jury on Friday.
The self-styled psychoanalyst from Camden, who is the civil partner of the late film director Ken Russell’s son, had won the vulnerable woman’s confidence by carrying out sessions of “radical existential psychoanalysis” via telephone from the United States, charging £1,980.
The jury heard he later moved into her Hertfordshire home to perform a “Laingian intervention” inspired by an experiment by Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing in which therapists live with mentally ill patients.
Within days Cochran stole the woman’s Tesco credit card and PIN number and attempted to withdraw £1,490 in just two minutes at a cash point on March 1 last year.
He later sent emails to try and blackmail her out of another £1,790.
Following the verdict at St Albans Crown Court, the victim told the Ham&High: “My family and I are keen that he never be able to commit crime again.”
The jury heard that after the victim went to police Cochran made allegations that she had sexually assaulted him on three occasions and she was put through the ordeal of being cross examined during trial.
During one lurid account, forcefully denied by the victim, Cochran described how he had allegedly found her lying next to a dead fish and masturbating in her hallway, before rubbing herself against him.
Cochran, who represented himself in court, was found guilty of three counts of theft, three of attempted theft, five of fraud and one of blackmail.
Judge John Plumstead, who will sentence Cochran on September 2, said he believed the 29-year-old may have a “narcissistic personality disorder” and ordered psychiatric assessments.
He said: “His degree seems to have been a pretty generalist one, he’s talked himself into thinking that by reading Jean Paul Sartre and Heidegger he can form a basis to give therapy to others. That’s delusional.”
The judge continued: “This man could have very substantially reduced the trouble he was in if he’d had the ability to face up to it.
“If he’d said ‘I’m a bit of a freak, I’m not very happy in my life, I wish I hadn’t done this’, I would have been looking at ways to be sympathetic. I’m afraid I’m not.”
The woman has now appealed for anyone who may have concerns about Cochran to contact police.
Cochran, of of Brunswick Mansions, Handel Street, Bloomsbury, is facing a prison term unless the judge rules he should be hospitalised under a mental health order.
‘MESSAGE FROM A TERRORIST YOU TUBE RANT
The Ham&High can now reveal a YouTube video of Tony Cochran preaching anti-capitalist theories in Camden Lock and calling for the death of former prime minister David Cameron is published online.
Cochran can be seen in the bizarre clip called ‘Message from a Terrorist’ shouting through a megaphone at the passing crowds about destroying the financial power of the City of London and Wall Street.
He says: “If you want to talk about terrorism, yes I’m a terrorist, but I’m a terrorist against the terrorists.
“So I say we should kill the bankers and execute them all in the City, first one Mark Carney (governor of the Bank of England) and then perhaps the head of David Cameron should go rolling after that.”
He goes on: “We’ve got to attack the people at the top. There’s a list of the people, 80 people who own as much wealth as half the world’s population. This is the hit list. If you wanna kill somebody kill one of those people.”
It has been viewed more than 4,500 times.
During his trial Cochran told the jury he worked in the trade union movement in America.
The court also heard that he had been involved with the protest group Occupy Wall Street in New York.
CONVICTED MAN RAISED THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ONLINE
The Ham&High’s investigation has shown that self-styled psychoanalyst Tony Cochran has a number of crowdfunding accounts on the website IndieGoGo which have raised thousands of dollars.
Our reporter found five web pages on the fundraising site, all now closed, in the name of Tony Cochran of Camden, some featuring a picture of Cochran.
The pages have raised the following amounts; Africa Help - Liberia $3,095, Help Africa - Liberia $2,156, Help Africa £100, Medical Fund $440, Medical and Housing Costs - Liberia $900.
The Ham&High could find no charities of these names.
Cochran’s civil partner, the artist Alex Verney-Elliott, also started a ‘Political Dissident Campaign Fund for Tony Robert Cochran’ on IndieGoGo, which has raised $607.
Mr Verney-Elliott, son of the late film director Ken Russell - whose movie hits include Women In Love staring former Hampstead MP and Oscar winner Glenda Jackson, confirmed he set up the page when contacted by the Ham&High.
It asks for donations to assist with Cochran’s “housing, healthcare and food costs” and says Cochran “has been held in the UK on police bail without charge for dubious political and legal reasons” that relate to his philosophical work, but mentions nothing of the theft, fraud and blackmail charges.
During the trial, the victim told the jury that Cochran sometimes uses a second name of Eilif Verney-Elliott, which he denied.
When the Ham&High went online we found four accounts in the name of Eilif Verney-Elliot showing Cochran’s photograph, including a member page on The Guardian website.
* Do you have a story for the Investigations Unit? Contact journalist Emma Youle on 020 7433 0122 or email@example.com