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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 15:28 GMT
Uncured smoker gains refund
A hypnotherapist has agreed to pay 200 to a Devon smoker who went to him for a cure, but lit up again 20 minutes later.

School cleaner Mark Walker took 29-year-old hypnotherapist Fabien Decodts to a small claims court in Exeter.

Mr Walker, 36, of Mincinglake Road, Exeter, said he had asked Mr Decodts for the return of his 250 fee after the treatment failed to work for him.

"He said he did not do refunds," said Mr Walker after the hearing.

Mr Walker and the hypnotherapist reached agreement after a 50-minute mediation session at the court.

I accept that hypnotherapy might work for other people, even though it didn't work for me
Mark Walker
Mr Walker, who said he had smoked roll-up cigarettes since the age of 15, went to Mr Decodts' Exeter Hypnotherapy centre after seeing an advertisement which guaranteed to stop him smoking in an hour or come back for free.

Mr Walker said he went for the hypnotherapy treatment because: "I had tried the cold turkey method and it was unpleasant.

"I went for hypnotherapy once and it did not work, so I went back.

"I was smoking again within 20 minutes of the first treatment. I do not think I was hypnotised at any stage."

'Cold turkey'

He added: "I have been trying to give up smoking for many years, and I am trying to give up again.

"I accept that hypnotherapy might work for other people, even though it didn't work for me."

He said he had just begun a new "cold turkey" regime to try to stop smoking.

Mr Decodts made no comment after the hearing, adding that he would release a statement later.

Before the case on Wednesday, he said he had treated about 200 smokers each year and estimated his success rate was about 80%.

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