Victim of psychic who swindled him out of €10k blasts her as ‘wicked’ and ‘selfish’

“She is a very dishonest person,” he said.

Debbie Paget, of Knowth Court, Ballymun, Dublin pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ)

Patrick O'Connell

A MAN, who handed over €10,000 to a psychic swindler on the supposed instructions of his dead father, has blasted the carer turned con-woman as a ‘wicked, selfish and manipulative scumbag.’

James Byrne and his sister Maria told how self-described ‘psychic medium’ Debbie Paget:

  • Was welcomed into their home as a carer for Maria after she fell down the stairs fracturing her leg in seven places;
  • Began poisoning the sibling’s minds against one another within weeks of taking up the role;
  • Constantly tried to interest the pair in allowing her to ‘read them’ – even telling Maria on one occasion she had seen her dead father standing next to her;
  • Exerted constant pressure on the pair to hand over money from a compensation award James had received.

Paget – who was this week convicted of dishonestly inducing by deception James Byrne to give her €10,000 but found not guilty of inducing Maria Byrne to give her €200 – was not home when we called to property in Knowth Court, Ballymun this week.

On Facebook, where she continues to advertise her services as a medium – she is maintaining her innocence.

“It’s a miscarriage of justice,” she told one supporter, “and I’m going to see if I can do anything,”

Told of Paget’s denials, victim James said he wasn’t in the least bit surprised.

“She is a very dishonest person,” he said.

Asked how Paget had come into their lives, Maria said she had suffered a fall while stepping off the bottom step of the stairs of the family home in 2020.

“I fell down the last step of the stairs and I fractured my ankle in five places,” she recalled.

“I was in Blanchardstownhospital for two weeks and after that I was in respite for three months in Newpar... She ended up coming in to care for me. It was an hour in the morning and an hour at night. She was nice at first but then started not turning up a good bit of the time.

“And when she did turn up..., if I was smoking out in the back garden, she started coming out and saying things about James … things, she said, I wasn’t to tell James.”

James said Paget was also doing this with him.

“One time, she said to me that Maria was only using me. I wasn’t to say it but I did say that back to Maria. And that had a big impact on our relationship.“We were rowing all the time, banging doors and everything. “

“The rows only started after she became Maria’s carer – she (Paget) stopped us trusting each other.”

James also said Paget often made repeated references to her own difficult financial situation, hinting that he might give her money, to pay for a bill, like getting her car fixed.

Maria said it was about a year into Paget’s work with her as a carer before she convinced the siblings to do a reading.“She told us that she was a medium and she said she could do a reading on me,” Maria recalled.​

“I said I don’t believe in that rubbish.

“But then, one day, I was standing outside in the back garden with her and she told me my father was standing next to me.

“I didn’t know what to say.”

Eventually, the siblings said, Paget did get them to agree to a reading.​

“She took us out to her house together,” James recalled. She brought out the candles and the incense. And she did two readings … one for each of us. When she did mine, she told me that I was going to feel my father touching me. I didn’t feel anything.

“She said a few things and then she said your father wants you to give me €10,000... I didn’t feel a touch but I did believe my father was there. And the next day I went to the bank and took out... €10,000 for her.“I took out the ten thousand for her and another €3,000 for various things I needed to do.”

Asked why he gave Paget the money, James replied: “I just felt under so much pressure.​

“She told me it would be a sin on my soul if I didn’t. She said the devil would get me and I would go to hell.

“She kept pressing and pressing and I couldn’t take any more … it was the pressure.”“She kept asking: ‘When are you going to give it to me?’​

“So, I handed it over.

“She never told me what she wanted it for.

“I gave her the money in an envelop and she put it down her top.”​

The siblings then realised James had been swindled when Paget stopped working as Maria’s carer within a matter of weeks. Then they went to the Gardaí.

“She said she got sacked but we found out the other day she resigned,” said Maria.

“I can’t remember exactly but I think it was only a week after she took the money that she left.

“She said I didn’t need a carer any more and that’s when I got onto the company.”

James said, after the siblings went to gardai about the money, they considered pulling out on a number of occasions.

“We talked about it but I said to Maria if we pulled out we’d be letting her win.

“And if we pulled out there would be nothing to stop her doing it to another person and then another.

“I wanted her to be held responsible.“

She is so dishonest, she hurt us, she betrayed, she’s a “wicked, selfish, manipulative scumbag.”

During interviews with the gardai, Paget confirmed she was known as a “psychic medium” which meant that she could “see beyond the veil” and communicate with the dead.

But she said she had offered this service for 40 years and had “never charged a penny” for it.

She denied ever doing “a reading” for the complainants or ever receiving any money from either of them.

She said she never asked either complainant for money and had no idea why either of them would lie.

On Tuesday, after deliberating for a little over four hours, a jury in the Circuit Criminal Court found Paget guilty, by a majority, of the first count. Sentencing will take place on July 10.