Monday, June 04, 2007

You Can't Trust Anyone These Days ...

... not even your dominatrix. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Dominatrix accused of stealing $300,000
June 4, 2007 - 7:14PM

A dominatrix has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly stealing more than $300,000 from her brain damaged friend who worked as a "slave" at a Melbourne bondage centre.

Taran Whyte first visited the bondage and discipline establishment known as The Correction Centre, in Fitzroy, in May 1999 after her mother died and she was "desperately lonely". At the centre, Whyte befriended dominatrix Susan Shepherd, who allegedly stole $335,000 from her after she received a $483,500 inheritance.

Shepherd reserved her plea in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today to seven counts each of theft and obtaining property by deception and was ordered to stand trial in the Victorian County Court. Police allege Shepherd gambled away hundreds-of-thousands of dollars of Whyte's money, which she had convinced Whyte to deposit into her bank account between April and October 2005. Money was allegedly transferred into Shepherd's account on several occasions in amounts totalling as much as $113,000.

In court today, Ms Whyte said she was a needy, submissive person who was often generous to friends so she could in effect buy their friendship.

She said eventually she began working as a slave at the centre and Shepherd moved into her house."We had a strong emotional bond. Physically, Susan and I didn't find each other attractive at all but emotionally we did," Ms Whyte told the court. "Susan once said to me: `You like to serve' - well I suppose I did, I like to be needed. I was not aware that Susan had a very different agenda and was basically feeding my need to be needed."

Ms Whyte, who suffers from brain damage as a result of heavy alcohol consumption, said she was aware of Shepherd's gambling problem before she received her inheritance. She said she thought Shepherd was having trouble getting clients because younger women were more popular.

Shepherd told Whyte the money would be safer in her account and that she had invested $210,000 in property in the Port of Spain, the court was told.

She told police she spent the money Whyte transferred into her account on pokie machines.

Magistrate Peter Mealy ordered Shepherd to appear at the County Court for a case conference on July 30.


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