Derek Acorah’s wild life – football career, fakery claims and bitter co-star feud

It’s been two years since Derek Acorah died, and his friends are still waiting for the self-styled medium to contact them from beyond the grave.

His friend, psychic Micky Vermooch, said: “Derek doted on his family. Him and his wife were devoted to each other. I know for a fact it won’t be long before he makes himself known.

“He will find someone he wants to make contact with him to say, ‘Derek has arrived in the spirit world.’

“I don’t think it’ll be too long until that happens. He will want them to know he’s safe.

“In terms of coming back from the spirit world, I would say he has a headstart – his faith is everything.”

The star died from sepsis after a severe bout of pneumonia on January 4th 2020, aged 69.

Derek Acorah died two years ago aged 69



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He was famous for starring on paranormal programme Most Haunted and for sparking outrage when he claimed he had made contact with Madeleine McCann and that she was dead, but his first job was actually as a footballer.

As a youth, he played for Liverpool and even claimed to have contacted the club’s former boss Bill Shankly from beyond the grave, but his sporting career was cut short by injury and so he focused on being a full-time psychic.

Derek claimed he had experienced his first brush with the other side aged six, when he saw his deceased grandfather in the home of his grandmother, who was also a psychic.

He worked on shows including Psychic Lifetime, Predictions and Antiques Ghost Show.

In 2001, he landed a spot on Haunting Truths, which eventually became Most Haunted, hosting the ghostly invegistiation show alongside Yvette Fielding.

But their working relationship and friendship came to a bitter end when she accused him of faking a spiritual possession.

Derek died of sepsis after a severe bout of pneumonia


Tim Merry)

He branded his former co-star “egotistical” and “big-headed” after she revealed how he had fallen for a set-up scene.

During the filming of a 2005 Most Haunted episode at Bodmin Gaol, the show’s resident sceptic Ciaran O’Keeffe left the name of a notorious South African jailer, Kreed Kafer, on a piece of paper and had spoken of his identity within Derek’s earshot.

When the cameras started rolling, Derek claimed to be possessed by Kreed – but Ciaran later revealed the man was totally made up and his name was an anagram of ‘Derek Faker’.

When the sting was uncovered, Derek left the show, and Yvette said the following year: “We tell people everything is real, then it turns out he was a fake, so he had to go.”

Her comments sparked a war of words with Derek, who said: “She decided when I left the show that she didn’t want to talk to me any more. There was no need for it and it was very sad.”

He attempted to backtrack on the Kreed Kafer scandal, pinning the blame squarely on his ‘spiritual guide’ Sam, a ghostly presence who helped him contact the spirit world.

He starred on Most Haunted with Yvette Fielding


Living TV)

“I’d just like to say on virtually all psychic activity, I rely on my spiritualist guide I call Sam, but sometimes I rely heavily on my own spiritual guilds that are a custom to my surroundings and the atmosphere that I am upon,” Derek said in 2006.

“When I get possessed, I cannot remember any of the actions of who has taken over me or that of my surroundings. On this occasion where the spirit Kreed Kafer came to me, I can say that I had, yes had been taken over by an entity, but the identity would have been other than that of the name that came from me.

“One explanation of what could have occurred is that the spirit that took on board myself had heard one of the crew members mention the character Kreed Kafer and this individual took on that name by means of fraud or because many people in the very distant past did not have names so this entity decided to use the one he had overheard.

“Another explanation is that I did hear in passing the name Kreed Kafer, and when I did take on board the spirit I made a genuine mistake and wrongly associated this name with the spirit. I am human and can make mistakes, especially when I am under the pressure of a reading or being taken over by an overbearing entity.

Derek was accused of faking when he was set up by a sceptic


Living TV)

“I do however have a strong successful following in the spiritualist field and I do believe that I am a genuine medium. I am sorry if any of my lovely fans were offended by this mistake.”

To make matters worse, Derek then fell for another of Ciaran’s tricks in the very next episode when he claimed to communicate with a ghostly presence called ‘Rick Eedles’ – an anagram of ‘Derek Lies’.

Derek was asked by producers to leave the show, and in 2015 Yvette axed mediums completely from Most Haunted.

“We found mediums in the toilet on the internet. We found them talking to friends getting information for them. They didn’t remember that they had a mic on and we could hear everything,” she told Radio Times.

“I was annoyed as I wanted to believe them, but I couldn’t after seeing that. That was really upsetting for me.

“You’ve got to be very careful of people like that. Until they’re proven I’ll remain sceptical!”

But Derek wouldn’t let the matter rest, telling the Belfast Telegraph in 2015 that Yvette was “jealous” of his success.

“It doesn’t matter at all what people like Yvette Fielding say – I don’t allow them to run me down,” he insisted.

He and Yvette’s friendship came to a brutal end



Derek maintained Yvette was simply jealous of his success


Stockport Express)

“I’ve been crucified and lied about; there is a lot of jealousy out there, but I haven’t opened my mouth about Yvette for years – I had a confidentiality clause and if I’d said anything negative, I’d have been sued and pursued and all my money would have been taken away.”

He added: “Those were lies to discredit me because I was leaving Most Haunted to do my own programme, Derek Acorah’s Ghost Tours.

“But I’ve had enough and I’m going to speak out in my autobiography. The lawyers are going through it carefully but Yvette Fielding hasn’t got a leg to stand on.”

Their friendship never recovered from the brutal fallout, but Yvette released a message of condolence when Derek passed regardless.

“Our condolences go out to Derek’s family at this time,” she tweeted.

Derek’s wife Gwen said she wouldn’t be contacting him through a medium


©Alpha Press)

The star famously claimed to have contacted Madeleine McCann



Derek was also subjected to fierce criticism in 2012 when he claimed the missing Madeleine McCann was “in the spirit world” and was forced to apologise to her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

He claimed he had been “misquoted” by the Sun, which ran the original interview in which he was quoted as saying: “I know her parents are convinced Maddie is alive and I’m really sorry – but the little one has been over in the spirit world for some time.”

He added: “I don’t think she will be there long before she reincarnates.

“When children pass over who haven’t had full lives I believe they choose the time to come back in the same form again – as another little girl.”

During his denial, Derek said he would fly out to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, where the three-year-old girl had gone missing, to see if “the spirits” could help track her down.

Gwen says her life with Derek was enough and she doesn’t want to contact him from the dead


Liverpool Echo)

“I am willing to go over to Portugal to help search for Madeleine. I will go to the place where she went missing and see what I can pick up,” he told the Daily Mail.

“I would ask the world of spirits in the area what happened and anything I found out I would pass over to police to help with their investigation.”

“I hope and believe Madeleine is alive.”

When asked why it had taken him five years to offer his services to the Portuguese missing persons team, Derek said he hadn’t wanted to get in the way of other mediums.

“It was in my mind to go over and search for Madeleine when she first disappeared but there were already four mediums over there,” he insisted.

“I was surplus to requirements and I’m not going to be getting in another medium’s ground.”

Following Derek’s death, his widow Gwen said she had been chatting to him as if he was there, but that she didn’t want to speak to him through a medium.

“I have faith he’s OK. My life with Derek was enough,” she said.

“I’ll remember him with every breath I breathe.”

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