An aristocrat convicted yesterday of an antisemitic attack is closely associated with a conspiracy theorist who believes the world is controlled by alien serpents.
Piers Portman, 50, whose father is the 9th Viscount Portman, called the head of an antisemitism campaign “Jewish scum” in a confrontation after the sentencing of a Holocaust denier.
He had admitted telling the campaigner he was being persecuted by “Jewish tyrants posing as victims” and was convicted at Southwark crown court yesterday of religiously aggravated harassment.
The former society figure was accompanied at his trial by Matthew Delooze, an author who believes reptilian aliens secretly rule the world using human puppets including the royal family and celebrities.
Relatives and friends of the scion of the Portman family, whose £2 billion property empire dates back to a gift from Henry VIII, have become increasingly concerned about his behaviour since he met Delooze, 62.
Portman, who has described having a £300 million stake in the family trust and an income of £80,000 a month, helped Delooze set up a company to publish his theories of the “serpent cult” and paid for his home.
Portman’s privileged upbringing and education at Harrow is in stark contrast to Delooze, who has said he grew up in Burnley, Lancashire.
Delooze claims that as a six-year-old he was taken in a spacecraft by a beautiful woman who told him he would save the world. He was placed in care and later sentenced to borstal before becoming a factory worker. The author has described having an “epiphany” about a serpent cult in 1998 while preparing to kill himself.
Portman is one of four sons of the 9th Viscount’s second marriage. He married Lucy Thompson at St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington, west London, in 1995. Thompson, then 22, is the only daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Sir Christopher Thompson, 56, equerry to Prince Michael of Kent. Their daughter, Willow, was the first female born into the Portman family in 39 years.
After the marriage ended, Portman married the PR supremo Tracy Brower, who is Jewish, in 2004. Their marriage crumbled as Portman made a number of visits to Brazil, where he took a hallucinogenic drug and began sending letters to newspapers and prominent people stating he was being persecuted.
Soon after their introduction, Delooze had been invited by Portman to join him at an “ayahuasca workshop” held at an eco-lodge resort in Bahia, northeast Brazil. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic traditionally used by shamans in the Amazon. Delooze recorded how the drug confirmed that the world was an illusion created “by a very deceptive force, and we live lives that the hijackers want us to live”.
In a letter denouncing the Royal Courts of Justice, he had suggested the Talmud, a Jewish legal text, was discriminatory against gentiles and “goys” [non-Jews].
Portman wrote to Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, in January 2018 claiming that his own wife and her divorce lawyer, Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, who is also Jewish, were “greedy, grasping, thieving and lying criminal manipulator[s] of the system”.
Five months later he approached Falter after the sentencing of Alison Chabloz-Tyrer, a notorious antisemite and Holocaust denier. He denied calling Falter “Jewish scum”, saying: “I am an honourable British man who was brought up to show respect to a fellow human.”
Judge Gregory Perrins said all sentencing options including custody would be considered when Portman returns to court on October 22.