Thursday, September 11, 2008
A Nigerian woman who produced human fingers in court in a bid to explain her involvement in a £925,000 tax credit fraud has been jailed for 5 years
Remi Fakorede, 46, from Hackney, east London, told Snaresbrook Crown Court, she had been forced into crime by a voodoo curse on her and her family. Fakorede claimed the same voodoo curse caused the fingers belonging to one of her six children to fall off. She was convicted of one count of fraud between 1 August 2002 and 26 June 2007. Her daughter, Denise Shofolawe-Cokerenise, 21, also from Hackney, was jailed for 12 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday after being found guilty of laundering £70,000 of the stolen money. Judge Jacqueline Beech said the 46-year-old Nigerian-born defendant's behavior was utterly disgraceful and a cynical attempt to manipulate the jury. DNA test results have since been ordered to determine who the body parts belonged to, although it is understood the defendant's three-year-old daughter had lost part of her hand after suffering renal problems and developing gangrene. Social Services and the Child Protection Agency were also contacted following the incident in court. Passing sentence the judge, who said the fingers incident was the most horrific she had experienced, told Fakorede she had been responsible for a wholesale assault on the benefit system.