How my lovely moral sis­ter-in-law be­came a Der­ren Brown ‘killer’

Daily Mail - - Life - By Sam Creighton, Laura Lambert and Jemma Buck­ley

THE SIS­TER-IN-LAW of a woman con­vinced to ‘mur­der’ a stranger as part of a TV ex­per­i­ment has de­scribed the shock she felt watch­ing the show.

Il­lu­sion­ist Der­ren Brown used his pow­ers of per­sua­sion to get un­wit­ting par­tic­i­pants to push a man ap­par­ently to his death from a roof in a dra­matic pro­gramme on Tues­day night.

While the ‘vic­tim’ was in fact an ac­tor fas­tened to a safety har­ness, the test sub­jects be­lieved they were push­ing the stranger to his death. Their faces told the dread­ful story, show­ing pain and con­fu­sion as they wres­tled with their con­sciences.

In­cred­i­bly, only one of the four par­tic­i­pants re­fused the task – prov­ing Brown’s hy­poth­e­sis that many or­di­nary men and women al­low oth­ers to con­trol their lives.

Joanne Wykes, whose sis­ter-in-law Laura Wykes, 28, was tricked into think­ing she was a killer, said she found the ex­per­i­ment ‘hor­ri­ble’ but ‘fas­ci­nat­ing’ to watch.

Writ­ing on the il­lu­sion­ist’s Face­book page af­ter the one- off Chan­nel 4 show aired, she said: ‘Der­ren Brown you naughty man mak­ing my lovely, kind, moral, strong, in­de­pen­dent sis­ter-in-law kick that man and push him over the edge.

‘To­tally fas­ci­nat­ing to watch, work of ge­nius how it was put to­gether ... Has re­ally made me chal­lenge my own thought process. Hor­ri­ble to see Laura strug­gling with her­self and so up­set.’

Asked if her sis­ter-in-law, who is from Hinck­ley, Le­ices­ter­shire, had been given coun­selling, she replied: ‘I think so. Can’t wait to see her to give her a big hug.’

Der­ren Brown: Pushed to the Edge saw the il­lu­sion­ist stage four fake char­ity auc­tions, invit­ing one of the un­wit­ting vol­un­teers to each.

Brown has likened the ma­nip­u­la­tion to ‘boil­ing a frog’ – whereby the an­i­mal is placed in tepid wa­ter which is then heated slowly so it doesn’t re­alise it is be­ing killed.

The par­tic­i­pants were told they might win lu­cra­tive con­tracts to work for the char­ity and would also get the chance to net­work with one of its donors. Over just a few hours, they agreed to com­mit in­creas­ingly anti-so­cial acts in or­der to please the pro­gramme’s fake char­ity boss.

Most of the oth­ers in­volved in the sce­nario were ac­tors, while Brown pulled the strings from be­hind the scenes. First, the par­tic­i­pants were told the mil­lion­aire donor had dropped dead of a heart at­tack and that this had to be cov­ered up. All four were per­suaded to hide the donor’s body and im­per­son­ate him.

When the fake boss changed his mind, and ac­cepted the death would have to be dis­closed, he in­sisted it would have to look like an ac­ci­dent.

Miss Wykes, Han­nah Turk­ing­ton, 26, and Martin Speller, 27, all agreed to kick the man’s body in the stom­ach to pro­duce bruises that would look like he had fallen. Only Chris Kingston, 29, re­fused.

They were later duped again when they were told the mil­lion­aire hadn’t died at all, just fainted, and now wanted to see them sent to jail. In sep­a­rately staged sce­nar­ios, Miss Turk­ing­ton, Miss Wykes and Mr Speller – egged on by a small group of fake char­ity work­ers – then shoved the man off the roof.

Reg­u­la­tor Of­com had last night re­ceived 14 com­plaints about the show, with one viewer brand­ing it ‘ma­nip­u­la­tive and dam­ag­ing’.

A Chan­nel 4 spokesman said: ‘All the par­tic­i­pants went through a rig­or­ous psy­cho­log­i­cal se­lec­tion process ... [they] were ex­tremely well taken care of through­out and af­ter the process, and all of them feel very pos­i­tive about the ex­pe­ri­ence.’

Shock: Miss Wykes pushes a man to his ‘death’ in the ex­per­i­ment

Ma­nip­u­lated: Laura Wykes, 28

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