Apr 26, 2016

Beautiful society girl 'stolen' from a loving family by her mysterious dream therapist: Terminally ill grandma, 78, claims beloved granddaughter vanished after 'healer' wrongly convinced her she'd been abused

  • Victoria Cayzer cut ties with family after falling under influence of a 'healer'
  • Therapist was Anne Craig, a self-described 'personal development coach'
  • Her grandmother Lindy Ticehurst, 78, wants to see Victoria before she dies
  • The Mail on Sunday found many former clients with similar stories to tell
  • It is claimed Mrs Craig said she can analyse dreams, contact spirit world

April 23, 2016

Victoria Cayzer (pictured) has been beyond the reach of her family for the past four years
Victoria Cayzer
At the age of 78, Lindy Ticehurst is facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer with admirable stoicism. Hers has been a life well lived, and now, in her final weeks, she is surrounded by a loving family.

There is, however, one heartfelt bucket list item she would like to fulfill, and that is to see her granddaughter Victoria before she dies.

It has been some considerable time since they last spoke. Indeed Victoria, a beautiful young woman whose family controls a fabulous shipping fortune, is not merely distanced from those close to her. She has vanished, cutting off all contact four years ago after allegedly falling under the influence of a mysterious 'healer' – a woman who is said to specialise in working with wealthy young women.

The therapist in question is Anne Craig, a self-described 'personal development coach'. And according to Mrs Ticehurst, after sessions with Mrs Craig, Victoria became convinced she was abused by her parents.

Now a Mail on Sunday investigation has uncovered several former clients with disturbingly similar stories to tell. Mrs Craig, it is claimed, has told them she can analyse dreams and is in touch with the spirit world. It is said she seeks to examine whether their problems have been caused by a dysfunctional upbringing.

The ex-clients also claim the therapist's methods isolated them, forcing them to rely on her. One young woman told The Mail on Sunday Mrs Craig had tried wrongly to suggest that she, too, had been sexually abused by her father.

While Mrs Craig denies any wrongdoing, what remains beyond doubt is that 26-year-old Victoria Cayzer has been beyond the reach of her family for the past four years.

Now Victoria's mother, Lady Caledon, and stepfather Lord Caledon are preparing a landmark legal case against the therapist which they hope will allow their daughter's grandmother to see her again. They also want to set a legal precedent enabling others to sue those they blame for wrecking their family life.

Breaking the family's silence about the painful estrangement, Mrs Ticehurst said: 'Before I die, I want to see my granddaughter for one last time. I feel I have no option but to speak publicly in the hope of getting the message through to Victoria. I want to say goodbye.'

Her decision to speak out comes amid the extraordinary battle between one of Britain's most discreet and influential families and Mrs Craig – a fight which has so far resulted in two arrests and a High Court action.

Mrs Ticehurst continued: 'My daughter does not want to talk because she is worried she may lose Victoria forever. But I do not have the luxury of time. In January I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It has spread to the lymph nodes and lungs. The prognosis then was six weeks.

'It is inoperable and the only thing keeping it at bay is the chemotherapy.

'I have written to Victoria through Craig's solicitors because we don't even know where she lives. The pain of missing out on so many years already is incalculable, and is compounded by seeing the overwhelming sadness and distress this has caused her mother.

'We want Victoria to know that she will be welcomed back to her family with open arms. Love never dies.

'I have no idea why she won't talk to us because she has never explained why she has cut us off. We do not blame Victoria. We want her to know that she is very much loved.'

Mrs Ticehurst added: 'Victoria is not alone. This pattern has happened to several young women who have come under the influence of this woman and they and their families have suffered as we have. It has to stop.'

Victoria is the child of Amanda Squire and Charles Cayzer, whose family fortune began with a Victorian shipping empire and now rests with the £1.6 billion Caledonia investment trust. Her parents divorced, and in 2008, the year before Victoria went to Leeds University, her mother married Lord Caledon – whose paternal ancestors acquired their wealth through the East India Company, and whose mother was a Siemens engineering heiress.

The family seat is the 5,000-acre Caledon Castle in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Since 1989, Lord Caledon has been Lord Lieutenant of Armagh, as well as managing a 3,000-acre estate in Hertfordshire.

Victoria's first connection with Mrs Craig came after a group of her friends studied art in Florence and met the therapist's daughter, Tara.

One of those friends encouraged Victoria to see Mrs Craig, who works with clients at the South London home she shares with her husband Rodney, a former Royal Navy commander who is chief executive of the prestigious University Women's Club in Mayfair.

A friend of Victoria, who was also a client of Mrs Craig, said: 'I was so close to Victoria, she was like a little sister to me. She did not say in detail why she went to see Craig, but did say she didn't want to repeat the mistakes of her parents – at that age you want to understand yourself. I went to four £100 sessions that lasted between three to four hours each. I came out feeling drained and exhausted. She was confusing me.

'The sessions focused on looking at your family and taking them apart and, I felt, putting the blame on them and those around you.'

There is no record of Mrs Craig, the daughter of an Irish farm labourer, being a member of any recognised therapist association. Neither is there evidence of any relevant qualifications.

She has, however, posted online adverts offering a 'holistic approach using healing energies and dreams to help you fulfil your potential on a personal and professional level'. She adds: 'I teach you how to find your own inner resources and healing.'

Mrs Ticehurst began to see a change in her granddaughter as soon as she started visiting Mrs Craig. 'Victoria stayed with me when she came down to London and she would come in from a two-hour counselling session barely able to speak because she was absolutely exhausted,' the grandmother said. 'This was in the very early days of her involvement. I got the sensation that Victoria was slightly angry, but it never crossed my mind that this would happen and why would it?

'I was concerned that Victoria did not have a proper job and had lost her boyfriend. With the benefit of hindsight I realise she was becoming isolated.' It was in December 2012 that the family eventually realised things were out of control.

Mrs Ticehurst recalled: 'Amanda met with Victoria at Starbucks in Gloucester Road for a cup of tea. Victoria started shouting and accused Amanda and her father of abusing her as a child. She went on to accuse Amanda of all sorts of things that were simply not true.'

Victoria removed all her belongings from her parents' homes and cut financial ties with her family.

The last time that Mrs Ticehurst set eyes on her granddaughter was shortly before Christmas 2012. 'I insisted I wanted to see her,' she recalled. 'It was very cold, but she wanted to meet outside a Chelsea pub, where we sat with our coffees. Victoria was not very communicative and spent most of her time on her phone talking or texting.

'I felt that she was in contact with someone else throughout. It was a very unhappy meeting and I felt that Victoria was very sad. At the end of it I was so upset.'

Matters took an even more traumatic turn in the summer of 2014, when seven police officers arrested Lady Caledon for alleged harassment after she took a card and some books to Mrs Craig's house for her daughter. Lady Caledon said the custody sergeant refused to detain her, declaring it to be a wrongful arrest and there was no further action.

In October the same year, Mrs Craig was arrested for alleged fraud – but after six months on conditional bail the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case.

Last year, Lord and Lady Caledon launched a High Court action designed to force the Metropolitan Police to disclose evidence gathered during their investigations into both Lady Caledon and Mrs Craig. They want to use the information in their action against the therapist.

Victoria is not the only previously happy young woman who appears to have undergone a change in character after meeting Mrs Craig.

Henry Strutt, a company director, said his 29-year-old stepdaughter Laura Hue Williams was a client of the therapist and a friend of Victoria – and that she, too, has cut off contact with her friends and family.

'Laura has in effect gone missing,' he said. 'We do not know where she is living and have no contact details for her. We do not know whether she is safe or even whether she is still alive. Attempts to contact her about the death of her uncle or the forthcoming marriage of her sister have met with silence.

'This is devastating for her mother, her family and all her friends. They fear for her safety and her mental health because she has undergone a complete personality change over the past few years.

'Those few friends who have managed to see her have said that the 'old Laura' is almost unrecognisable. What has happened should be outlawed in any civilised country.'

Another of Mrs Craig's ex-clients said: 'I was confused and unhappy and took a few sessions to tell her what worried me – that I was gay and was going to have to come out to my Catholic parents. She took this all in and manipulatively used it against me over 18 months. She's very empathetic and almost theatrical and slowly hooked me in, turning my confusion into credible answers.

'She told me that I was not gay and that I had some weird relationship with my mother. She used lots of control methods. We were told not to read books, magazines or newspapers because they were designed to lead us astray.

'She taught us humans had gone the wrong way because we used our heads instead of our hearts and that she was the only therapist in the entire world that practices this deep healing. She also told me that she had been sexually abused. She would say, 'Were you abused?' Then there would be a pregnant pause. I imagine under that theatrical context so many of her clients would say, 'Yes.' But I always said no because I was not abused and not going to let some woman tell me that I was.'

The former client added: 'Eventually I managed to get some distance from her. I paid a heavy price for my experience with Anne Craig. It was a lonely time. She told me my friends and family were bad: it was their fault and never my fault. She controlled my thinking.'

Dr Nicki Crowley, a consultant psychiatrist, said: 'What is incredibly sad from my point of view is that these essentially high-functioning young women, coping with the usual pressures of life after university, were persuaded to go and see this 'therapist/counsellor/healer' for general support and help. Instead, their sense of self-worth and self-confidence have been eroded.'

Of the planned legal action, Mrs Ticehurst said: 'In this country there is nothing you can do if you lose your adult children to a supposed therapist or healer. As a parent you have no options legally even if you have been defamed and your family's home life wrecked.'

A spokesman for Mrs Craig said she had not made up any allegations about any family. She rejects any claims she instilled false memories in anyone, or that she questioned her clients in such a way as to suggest they were abused as children.


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