Ed Lines

I OCCASIONALLY reminisce fondly on my trouble-free working years when the only responsibility was not falling off the ladder, and getting my window cleaner’s scrim in the corners.

You worked, you had brass. You didn’t work, you didn’t have brass. Simples.

Running your own business like this, the only guarantee is that the work never stops and the amount of hours you put in does not in any way equate to what you might or might not get out.

That’s why I decided last week that I really am in the wrong game. There must be fortunes to be made out there, judging by the case of jailed ‘witch-doctor’ – yes, really – Juliette D’Souza.

People gave this woman money, in copious volumes, to hang off a magical tree in the Amazon rainforest. It was a sacrifice, she told them, that South American shamans (whatever they are when they’re at home) required to cure them of their various ills.

Not surprisingly, the only provable magic that occurred was these fools’ money being mystically transformed into Louis Vuitton handbags and luxury holidays.

Well slap my thigh and you finish the sentence…

D’Souza convinced cancer sufferers that she had faith-healing powers that could cure them. A Sunday Times photographer, Jocelyn Bain-Hogg – and you’d think of all people he might smell a rat – kept stumping up money in the belief that his mother would die if he refused the “controlling and manipulating” 59-year-old’s financial demands.

A certain Richard Collier-Wright – a retired solicitor, mind – handed over a more modest £7,000 for a leukaemia cure.

If we can deduce anything from those cases, it’s that having a double-barrelled surname might be a sign of wealth, but it comes encumbered with massive doses of stupidity.

Another woman handed over £170,000 – one hundred and sev-en-ty grand! – for D’Souza to help her conceive a baby.

For that money I hope she got ridden round a Caribbean island by George Clooney for a month.

A woman with a Down’s Syndrome son gave her £42,000 to cure it. Because of course you can’t pop to the Co-op without bumping into someone whose terminally ill or severly handicapped child hasn’t just been cured by a witch-doctor.

It’s a wonder the NHS is still in business, given how successful these heeby-jeeby merchants are.

Clearly Ms D’Souza didn’t advertise her skills for curing mental illness, because each and every one of these people must be completely and utterly brainless.

I am pleased that she’s been banged up for 10 years. I haven’t the slightest sympathy for the financial woes of her victims.

What do they say about “a fool and his money…”?


I WISH I could be so complimentary about whoever let 40-year-old bank employee Victoria Earle walk free after she defrauded three elderly Alzheimer’s sufferers and a deaf and blind pensioner of £30,000.

The loss of her ‘good name’ was deemed by the judge to be sufficient punishment for this woman. Apparently she was depressed after the loss of a grandparent. For more than two years? A sensitive soul, clearly. God knows how she’ll cope when mum and dad pop their clogs – is she going to rob the Bank of England?

Then she blamed the bank’s ‘system’ for making it easier for her to steal these frail old people’s life savings.

I like that. A good one. “The old lady dropped her purse your honour, and as it was stuffed full of twenties I figured it made sense that I could make better use of it than her… she was effectively giving it to me!”

I’d give the evil cow five years just for that paltry excuse.

But anyway, the judge decided this was a “cry for help”. A cry for help for more than two years? Was the entire world throwing a deaf ‘un?

If Victoria Earle had nicked money from the accounts of a money-laundering drug dealer, or a dodgy takeaway or car wash owner (and if she’d worked in a bank local to us she’d have known the cowboys!) then I’d have chipped in for her fine myself.

But with cold and calculated precision she picked the four most vulnerable customers she could find, and thieved from them, again, again and again.

And her “loss of good name” was sufficient punishment? I’m clearly missing something here.


How can we find money for poseurs but not for dying kids?

I DON’T know what’s most galling about the situation with the horrible 22-year-old fame-seeker Sam Barton and his £5,000 NHS nose job.

Is it that a system that can’t afford decent cancer care for dying children can find this cash for a shifty little poseur’s cosmetic surgery?

Or is it that Barton can be so blasé about admitting he faked tears in front of his doctor to ‘con’ the cosmetic surgery and publicly blames the NHS for making it so easy to pursue his dream of being a ‘tv celebrity’.

Good grief. Is this the type of cretin our society is producing now?

Barton says he’ll keep trying to play the system to get more work done on his nose, ears, jaw etc.

You could argue that it’s not his fault the NHS is staffed at senior levels variously by either idiots who fall for his game, or heartless bureaucrats who deny life-saving treatments.

But I hope you don’t think me too unkind when I suggest how ironic it would be if, on his next visit to hoodwink a GP, Barton tripped face-first onto the knee of a dad who’s just received bad news about his plea for help for his child – and all his expensive teeth veneers ended up on the pavement and his nose looking like Ernest Borgnine’s.

Now at that point, I’m all in favour of the NHS fixing the poor mite up…


I WAS interested to read a ‘crash-for-cash’ story about Birmingham, Bradford and Bolton being the national hotspots for staged road accidents.

In a notable recent case, a bus that was in a minor bump with only two passengers was hit by 15 claims.

I think we all know the subtext here, but what really, really bugs me, is why the 12 clearly false claimants were not prosecuted for fraud?

That would be the first step towards halting this organised crime which costs every British motorist hundreds of pounds a year in insurance premiums.

A REPORT says that moving hospital beds further apart can beat the spread of a new breed of ‘superbugs’.

I like the idea. If I have to check into hospital anytime soon, can you move mine to Canada? Or maybe New Zealand?

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