Judge jails psychoanalyst conman from Camden saying ‘You’re delusional’
PUBLISHED: 16:18 07 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:28 07 September 2016
A “cunning and deceitful” psychoanalyst who moved into a patient’s house to carry out radical therapy sessions before blackmailing and stealing from her has been jailed for three years.
Tony Cochran, 29, of Handel Street, Camden, was sentenced for fraud, theft and blackmail at St Alban’s Crown Court on Friday.
The American national was found guilty of manipulating a vulnerable woman and moving into her house to carry out “radical existential psychoanalysis”.
He then stole her credit card and attempted to withdraw £1,490 in two minutes at a cash point.
The victim, who grew up in Hampstead and was described as “vulnerable and open to abuse” by the prosecution, had already paid the self-styled psychoanalyst £1,980 for telephone counselling sessions from the States.
She told the court during trial she was “very charmed” by Cochran and was “eager to please” him.
“What was being built up was far more than a professional relationship,” she said.
But Cochran broke her trust and stole her credit card and PIN before leaving her Hertfordshire home on March 1, 2015, the court heard.
When the victim went to police he tried to blackmail her and concocted a story accusing the woman of sexually assaulting him, the jury heard.
She was put through the ordeal of cross-examination about lurid allegations that he had found her masturbating in the hallway of her home next to a dead fish.
Cochran, who is the civil partner of film director Ken Russell’s son, the artist Alexander Verney-Elliott, represented himself during the trial and is likely to face deportation once he has served his prison term.
Judge John Plumstead told Cochran he had no professional qualifications as a psychoanalyst and said he had “deluded” himself into thinking he could give therapy to patients.
Cochran made a show of opening a sealed transcript of his degree qualifications from the witness stand during the trial.
But Judge Plumstead told the jury after the guilty verdicts: “This is plainly a man who got a moderate education. Rogues College in small town Oregon seems to have given him notions of his own capacities that are delusional.
“He’s talked himself into thinking that by reading Jean Paul Sartre and Heidegger he can form a basis to give therapy. That’s delusional.”
The victim said after Cochran’s conviction that she was “relieved that justice has been served” and she hoped he would “never be able to commit crime again”.
The Ham&High revealed after the trial that Cochran had raised thousands of dollars through the crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.
The pages took donations in the name of Africa Help – Liberia, Help Africa – Liberia, and Medical and Housing Costs – Liberia, but the Ham&High could find no such charities.
WILL TONY COCHRAN BE DEPORTED AFTER SERVING HIS SENTENCE?
The Home Office has refused to comment on whether Tony Cochran will be deported from the UK when he has served his prison sentence – saying only “we do not routinely comment on individual cases”.
But a spokesman told the Ham&High: “Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.
“Since 2010, we have radically reformed the deportation process and removed nearly 32,000 foreign criminals from the UK.
“We have toughened the law by cutting the number of grounds on which criminals can appeal deportation and are deporting more people before the end of their sentences.”
According to Home Office figures 5,810 foreign national offenders were removed from the UK in 2015-16, the highest number ever.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.