French aristocrats trapped in Oxford by conman
A French court sentenced Thierry Tilly, 48, to eight years in jail today, on charges of false imprisonment and abusing the weakness of psychologically vulnerable persons. He relieved 11 members of the aristocratic de Védrines family of £3.6 million, as well as property including a chateau near Bordeaux, over the course of a decade, in what the Judge described as a “Machiavellian Plot.” Tilly convinced the family that their lives were in danger as part of a scheme involving the Hapsburg dynasty and freemasons, and hid them in Oxford.Tilly, with the aid of another man, Jacques Gonzalez, told the de Védrines that he was a NATO spy working for the true king of France and the international secret society called ‘The Balance of The World,’ fighting against paedophiles and the masonic order. In return for protection against the conspiracy, he convinced the family to give him jewellery, property and cash over a ten year period. Their resulting seclusion from society in their ancestral Chateau led to the French press naming the de Védrines “the recluses of Monflanquin.”When the property was seized by the French government due to unpaid taxes, Tilly moved the family into hiding in several homes across Oxford. Five properties were rented from Oxford Landlord Andrew Scully, and the family stayed in a house on near Cowley Road. Scully also alleges that he has been “well and truly conned” out of a quarter of a million pounds in damages, rent and court fees. The family lived and worked in Oxford for several years.Throughout this period, their money was gradually transferred to a Canadian charity run by Gonzalez called ‘The Blue Light Foundation.’ Mr. Gonzalez has also been imprisoned for 4 years for deception and complicity. When sentencing, Judge Marie-Elisabeth Bancal said that Tilly had used the “creation of group paranoia” and the “exploitation of family weaknesses” to exploit the de Védrines. He became “a constant presence by their side, physically and then by telephone or email.” Daniel Picotin, the family’s British lawyer, said of Tilly that “he is to mental manipulation what Leonardo da Vinci is to painting.”A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said that they were not involved in the court proceedings, and declined to comment on the case.