Psychic swindled residents of care home, court told
One of Northern Ireland's most high-profile psychics has appeared in court charged with fraud.
Patrick Doak, who runs the Centre of Angels complex on Belfast's Falls Road, sat in the dock at Laganside Crown Court yesterday as his trial got under way.
The 50-year-old, from Lagmore Meadows in Dunmurry, faces seven counts including false accounting and fraud.
The jury was told all of the offences are alleged to have been committed when Doak was manager of the then St John of God-run Owenvale residential home.
The facility on west Belfast's Springfield Road catered for vulnerable adults.
In the dock alongside the spiritualist was Bridgene Kelly, Mr Doak's sister.
The 55-year-old, with an address at Linden Gardens in north Belfast, is accused of false accounting and forgery.
She was previously an employee at the home, the jury was told.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 2006 and 2010.
All of the alleged victims – seven in total – were residents at the home and some of their relatives were in court yesterday.
Mr Doak was arrested following a complaint made against him to police in 2012.
A series of documents relating to financial paperwork was seized as part of the police investigation.
Prosecutors allege he falsified a number of money sheet documents in the names of residents.
The psychic is also accused of ordering staff to, as one put it, "cook the books" after a total of £1,700 was found to be missing from a safe containing residents' cash.
Two former employees yesterday told the jury they were asked to fill in money sheets which detailed lodgments of cash to residents by their families.
They claimed they refused to change entries on duplicate money sheets in an attempt to mask the alleged missing money.
The cash, the jury was told, was left with staff by family members of residents for a range of things such as newspapers and haircuts.
Mr Doak's defence strongly denied the suggestion his client asked staff to act in any way dishonestly.
Claims Ms Kelly acted unlawfully by trying to cover up changes to paperwork were also rejected by her defence.
She is accused of shredding a money sheet which contained details of a residents' finances, and forging a new money sheet to replace the one she destroyed.
The court heard this related to a £100 deposit which was made to a resident and documented on a money sheet.
Ms Kelly is accused of destroying the original money sheet and creating a new sheet which stated that a deposit of just £10 was made.
One member of staff denied defence suggestions that she concocted the claims as she "didn't like" Mr Doak.
Both Mr Doak and Ms Kelly strongly deny any wrongdoing.
Mr Doak is one of the most high-profile psychics in Northern Ireland.
The medium is the president of the International Spiritualist Union and is head of his own Spiritualist Church.
The Centre of Angels' website reads: "Patrick Doak has been aware of spirits around him from a young age.
"He has practised as a medium and spiritual healer for many years."
The trial, expected to last for four days, continues.