Sunday, August 03, 2008

Woman Blames Child's Severed Fingers on Voodoo Curse

A story reported by BBC News on Friday tells of a woman who pulled two severed fingers from her purse while she was on the stand at London's Snaresbrook Crown court. Remi Fakorede, 46, claimed the fingers belonged to one of her six children, and had fallen off as a result of a voodoo curse.

The Nigerian-born woman, living in the Hackney section of London, removed the gruesome contents of her purse during a trial in which she was accused of a 925,000 pound ($1.75 million US) tax credit fraud. She claimed the same curse that took two of her child's fingers also caused her to participate in the fraud. From the article:

"Fakorede was convicted of one count of fraud totaling £925,933 ($1,759,272 US) while one of her daughters, 21-year-old Denise Shofolawe-Coker, was found guilty of laundering £70,000 ($133,000 US) of the stolen money."

"The court heard Fakorede, who holds joint Nigerian and British citizenship, invented 20 aliases to make 39 false tax credit claims over a five-year period. She was found out when she then tried to claim childcare as well."

Presiding over the trial, Judge Jacqueline Beech returned Fakorede and her daughter into custody until September 8 when pre-sentencing reports are planed. Judge Beech warned the pair they faced "inevitable" imprisonment for their "breathtaking" dishonesty.

"Fakorede blamed the fraud on unknown 'forces of darkness,' who she said had placed a 'voodoo' curse on her family."

"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 awaited to determine who the body parts belonged to."

Fakorede claimed the "dark forces" which caused her, and her daughter apparently, to commit the fraud were so powerful that they caused two of her child's fingers to fall off. The article does not say how old the allegedly affected child is, or even reveal the child's gender, but does say the body parts in question were a "child's fingers." Perhaps these facts were kept hidden to protect the privacy of the family. Fortunately, Social Services and the Child Protection Agency were called after Fakorede's dactylic exhibition. I was hoping the fingers belonged to the daughter who laundered the money. That way, Fakorede's curse explanation would have been a little more believable. After all, it would make a relative amount of sense (as much sense as can be attributed to an alleged voodoo curse) that the person acting under the influence of the curse would suffer the detrimental physical effects.

According to an article from, "voodoo" is a completely imagined religion, based upon the actual West African-based spiritual tradition of "Vodun." From the article:

"The name is traceable to an African word for 'spirit.' Vodun's can be directly traced to the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. Its roots may go back 6,000 years in Africa. That country occupied parts of today's Togo, Benin and Nigeria."

So, if Fakorede actually gave a "voodoo curse" as the reason for her malfeasance, she might have been betraying a cultural separation from her Nigerian roots. In other words, she has clearly been influenced by the curse-heavy, pop culture idea of "voodoo," rather then the religion of Vodun from which voodoo has sprung.

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Anonymous said...

I feel as though I am becoming more and more stupid as i read each sentence...

Jeremy said...

I hope that's a comment on the subject matter, not my writing style.

Anonymous said...

Voodoo is a bonafide religion in Hatian culture, no more or less "made up" than could be claimed for any other. Once again, Hatian.