A MUM caused uproar in court when she pulled two fingers from her handbag and said they belonged to one of her children.
Mother-of-six Remi Fakorede, 46, now behind bars for a breathtaking 925,000 tax credit fraud, claimed they had fallen off as a result of a strong voodoo curse that had been placed on her and her family and forced her into crime.
One juror burst into tears while the horrified judge immediately adjourned the case for the rest of the day.
Police were then called to Londons Snaresbrook Crown Court and took a statement from the Nigerian-born defendant.
Social Services and the Child Protection Agency were also contacted.
Although it is understood one of her children had lost part of her hand after suffering renal problems and developing gangrene, DNA test results are now under way to find out who the fingers belong to.
A reporting ban preventing publicity about the incident was lifted after unanimous guilty verdicts in the case yesterday.
Fakorede was convicted of one count of fraud between August 1, 2002 and June 26 last year, while one of her daughters, 21-year-old Denise Shofolawe-Coker, was found guilty accused of laundering 70,000 of the stolen money.
Remanding them in custody and adjourning the case until September 8 for pre-sentence reports Judge Jacqueline Beech warned the pair from Hackney, east London, that they faced inevitable imprisonment for their breathtaking dishonesty.
Lifting the reporting ban on the fingers incident, the judge said it must have
been unpleasant for the jury, and added: I have never experienced anything as horrific as this.
The court had heard Fakorede invented 20 aliases using combinations of her various names and a string of children - including twins and some allegedly disabled - to make 39 false tax credit claims over a five-year period.
Jurors heard stolen national insurance numbers were also used in the process.
Just over half the 925,933 defrauded passed through an account in her maiden name while 70,000 was laundered through her daughters.
Authorities discovered what she had been doing when she tried to claim childcare as well.
During the first day of her evidence on July 22, Fakorede, who holds joint British and Nigerian nationality, told the court her mother had died a few months earlier.
The following day she resumed her evidence and explained how her mother had been taken from her home and murdered.
The culprits or forces of darkness as she called them had then put a powerful voodoo curse on her and her family.
The defendant, who also claimed an Auntie Marian had hijacked both her and her daughters identities during the fraud, said the spell forced them into allowing their accounts to be used to receive some of the money.
She said the magic employed was so strong it caused one of her children to lose two fingers.
It was at that point she opened her handbag and pulled them out.
Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1506642.ece. 02/08/2008