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TV psychic from Shildon in court over unpaid debts
A TELEVISION psychic's personal assistant was left feline pretty sick when he was asked to cat-sit for a few days - and his lying boss never returned.
The man spent a week and a half in the home of Sylvia Mitchell looking after her pets - but she had fled after leaving a trail of debts behind her.
Convicted fraudster Mitchell - who also uses the names Jools Marquiss, Izzy Mitchell and Fran Willows - left County Durham but was traced to Hertfordshire.
In the meantime, her newly-appointed assistant was £455 out-of-pocket in unpaid wages and the money he had to fork out for cat food, a court was told.
The victim had applied for a vacancy in the JobCentre and when he was interviewed by Mitchell, she told of a glamorous life as a psychic to the stars.
During a trial, the 56-year-old said she had a number of celebrity clients - but refused the name them - but said some were Met Police officers.
It also emerged during the Teesside Crown Court hearing Mitchell had regularly appeared on the satellite TV show Psychic First, using the name Izzy.
The debts she left behind in Shildon included £254 owed to a newsagents for magazines and newspapers and £1,000 to a builder for gardening work.
She had regular orders for celebrity magazines such as OK! and Hello and her favourite newspaper, the Daily Mail, and did pay some bills, the court heard.
Mitchell made a number of excuses for not paying the builder for his two days work before leaving the North-East and him "out-of-pocket and aggrieved".
Prosecutor Martin Towers told the court: "In the depths of the recession, he was struggling for business and jumped at the chance of work.
"The final price was £900 but the defendant said 'just call it a grand'. When he called around, he was told the defendant needed to see her accountant.
"At the trial, she gave evidence she was owed a significant sum of money by the psychic television company she had worked for, but it had gone bankrupt.
"The director of the company confirmed it had not gone bankrupt and when she stopped working there in May 2011, she was paid everything she was owed."
It emerged that heartless Mitchell, formerly of Cedar Grove, Shildon, was once convicted of fleecing a friend by pretending to be dying of cancer.
She was told by a judge in 2008 that her plot to swindle thousands of pounds from the easily-led woman should prey on her conscience for years.
The judge branded the scam "despicable" and said: "It beggars the belief of right-thinking people that such meanness could be operated in such a manipulative fashion."
Mitchell has convictions for dishonesty going back to the 1980s for handling and using stolen cheques and stealing from an employer, the court heard.
When she appeared in court in 2008, she was brought in on a stretcher, and her barrister Ian Bradshaw, mitigating, said she was getting 12-hour daily care for a back condition.
On Friday and throughout her trial in June, Mitchell was in a wheelchair, and her new lawyer, Christopher Baker, said she was in "very poor health".
He said: "She is not in any real fit state. Because of her health problems and because she does not accept she is guilty of these offences, there are not really any conditions that are sensible that can be imposed."
Mitchell, who was found guilty of three fraud charges, was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Judge George Moorhouse.
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