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Derren Brown duped: TV illusionist's cleaner made £33,000 disappear from his account

As a famous TV illusionist, Derren Brown is more used to playing tricks on others than being duped himself. But the popular entertainer was the victim when his cleaner stole two blank cheques from his home so that more than £33,000 could be plundered from his bank account.

Cleaner Rocio Pavon-Navarrete has admitted stealing two cheques from the home of TV illusionist Derren Brown. However, she arrived at court today after being warned by the Judge he was prepared to send police to the hospital to arrest her. Mr Brown has attended Southwark Crown Court for four successive days, prepared to give evidence against his former employee. But for the first two days the case was postponed because of a lack of court time and Pavon-Navarrete failed to attend yesterday after claiming she was ill.

Pavon-Navarrete stole the two signed cheques which had been left by the entertainer at his central London home while he was on his 2010 Enigma tour in case of an emergency. She is now facing jail after Judge David Higgins warned her: 'Whilst I adjourned for a pre-sentence report the high probability remains that she will be sentenced to immediate custody given that which is obviously the grossest breach of trust. 'I wish her to be under no illusions as to what the future is likely to hold given the very serious criminality.'

Her sentence was postponed until next month and she burst into floods of tears as she left the court. The court heard today that police took almost a year to arrest Pavon-Navarrete for stealing the two cheques despite the fact that she was always the 'prime suspect.' Bethan Charnley, prosecuting, told Southwark Crown Court: 'It is a very simple case of theft of two cheques by a cleaning lady which were left in a drawer in an office for someone to use legitimately if they needed money whilst the owner was abroad. 'He is an entertainer, a conjurer perhaps, and that was his business when he left someone to deal with business matters whilst he was away and that is why there were cheques left ready signed.”

The cleaner then passed the cheques to Bernard Ayanbanjo, 48, who paid them into his account banking £11,500 and the other for £21,550.35, it is alleged.

Mr Ayanbanjo, of Waverley Road, Woolwich, south east London, denies two counts of fraud committed between October and December 2010 and will face trial later today.

Mr Brown is best known for his TV shows on Channel 4, which he describes as the product of 'magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship'. Despite his fame for predicting events, including the winning lottery numbers and controlling people’s behaviour, he did not realise he had been conned until his accountant notice the unusual transactions. James Holland, in mitigation for Pavon-Navarrete, said: 'The matter came to light as we understand it because Mr Brown’s accountant raised questions about the money that had gone out of his account.' He said the Ecuadorian mother-of-three, who is putting two of her sons through University, is in bad health and had a heart attack in 2010. Yesterday she failed to show at court and her barrister explained she had had high blood pressure and was being treated.
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