Hampstead spiritual healer who swindled £1million: ‘I’m penniless to repay victims’
- Credit: Archant
A notorious Hampstead con woman who swindled £1million from vulnerable people by claiming to be a spiritual healer has denied she has anything left to repay her victims with.
Juliette D’Souza made her claim to a judge at Blackfriars Crown Court today despite a cache of jewellery, including sapphires, diamonds, and designer watches, valued at £45,000, being discovered at a flat she was renting in Willoughby Road, Hampstead.
D’Souza, 59, who had also lived in Perrin’s Lane, Hampstead, was jailed for 10 years last May for what a judge described as “the worst confidence fraud I have ever dealt with”.
For 12 years, from 1998 to 2010, she extracted huge sums of cash from 11 people across Hampstead and north London – including opera singers, photographers and solicitors – by claiming to be a shamanic healer with links to the rainforest in Suriname.
D’Souza convinced her victims she could cure terminal illnesses, help disabled children or enable them to conceive by sending cash to the Suriname jungle – to be hung from a sacred tree by two other shamans known as Pa and Oma.
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Instead, D’Souza spent the money on a lavish lifestyle, renting three or four luxury flats at a time in Hampstead and splashing a fortune on Louis Vuitton bags, jewellery, antique furniture and holidays.
Her victims, including retired opera singer Sylvia Eaves, 83, who was conned out of £353,000, were in the public gallery today to hear D’Souza claim that she had no assets and could not repay a penny.
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The Crown claim D’Souza has a total of £280,000.
This includes jewellery and furniture worth £91,000, which she shipped abroad to furnish a house she owns in Suriname, and which detectives have valued at roughly £50,000.
They say she also transferred up to £26,000 to various accounts in South America.
Maria Karaiskos, prosecuting, said D’Souza “essentially disputes everything, including any benefit arising from the convictions”.
She said: “It is a blanket denial of everything.”
Piers Kiss-Wilson, defending D’Souza, said: “Her case will be that she has no assets whatsoever effectively.”
D’Souza denies that the tropical home belongs to her and, in any event, disputes the value.
She claims that she was given jewellery as gifts and her rent was paid by her elderly father, who also gave her a monthly allowance.
The hearing has been adjourned.