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Judge sends spiritual healer to prison


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FOLLOWING an investigation by Thames Valley Police, a spiritual healer has been sent to prison for 30 months after inappropriately touching women he claimed he was helping.

DEREK THURLBECK “assaulted vulnerable women.” (Photo: Thames Valley Police)


vulnerable women.” 
(Photo: Thames Valley Police)

Derek Thurlbeck, 63, of The Pastures, High Wycombe, Bucks, went to the homes of four separate women and touched their genitals over their clothes while treating them.

After a week-long trial at Reading Crown Court, Thurlbeck was found guilty of five counts of sexual assault by a unanimous jury verdict.

The incidents occurred between January 2017 and April 2019 in Slough and Bracknell where he assaulted four women. They were aged between 23 and 60.

Surinder Marway, who is based at Slough police station, said Thurlbeck “sexually assaulted vulnerable women, some over a period of two years, in their own homes.

“I believe the serious nature of this offence is reflected in the sentence, which will also help prevent him from further offending.

“I would also like to thank the victims for their help with the investigation and hope that the sentence Thurlbeck received brings them some comfort.”

Thurlbeck, who had a “sincere belief” in his healing abilities, told one woman she was “cursed” in a bid to convince her to receive healing.

He offered spiritual healing to the women free of charge, but touched them in ways which were “inappropriate” and “unprofessional,” and used the “rhetoric of spirituality” to justify his actions, said Her Honour Judge Real.

The judge added that Thurlbeck “did not have an elaborate plan,” but took advantage of the “vulnerable” women.

In court, prosecutor Walton Hornsby read out a statement from one of the women, who said:

“The incident has affected me emotionally. It has left me with flashbacks. I feel he has invaded a space in my own home.

“Since the incident I have lost trust in anyone I don’t know, I have stopped going out and I want it all to end soon, so I can get on with my life.

“If I see a small car like the one he used to drive I get scared he has returned. This went on for two whole years.

“I’m still living with the consequences of this. He is very dangerous; he is very clever and a master manipulator.”

Edward Butler, defending, said: “This is not a case where the defendant was entirely motivated by a sexual appetite.

“This was somebody who had a genuine and sincere belief in his ability and his calling to try to help people.

“It is something he has lived with his entire life. There were momentary lapses during his dealings in which he succumbed to temptation.

“For the most part, the defendant was sincerely motivated towards these defendants. All of this cannot be explained away by some great charade.”

Mr Butler said since his arrest in March 2019, Thurlbeck had undertaken “two-and-a-half years of abstinence” as he had not provided healing to anyone else.

Sentencing, Judge Real told Thurlbeck that the women “would not have agreed to your sessions if they knew there was a sexual motivation behind it.

“All of this gives me cause for concern for your future risk. You don’t seem to have very much insight into the problematic nature of what you did.”

Thurlbeck will serve half of his sentence before being released on licence. He was also handed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.



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