Don't miss a story sign up to Exmouth Journal's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Fraudster claimed to be Johnny Depp’s neighbour

13:10 19 November 2012

Archant

Police found instruction manual in ‘builder’s’ car.

A name-dropping builder fleeced customers out of thousands of pounds and left them needing to spend even more on putting right his shoddy work.

Victor Knight claimed to be actor Johnny Depp’s next door neighbour and to be a specialist in converting old buildings but police found a copy of an instruction manual called “How to Build a Barn” in his car.

He took money up front for expensive oak flooring and claimed to have thousands of pounds worth of wood in stock but it was all lies.

He even swindled his girlfriend into lending him £25,000 by telling her he needed the money to complete a £350,000 barn conversion.

Knight was a carpenter based at Bampton, Devon, but told customers he lived in a large house in Somerset where his neighbour was Johnny Depp, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Knight, 61, now of Chipstable, near Taunton, admitted four offences of fraud and will be sentenced later this week.

Judge Erik Salomonsen warned him he could face custody. He said: “I imagine everyone feels very bruised by the whole exercise, both emotionally and financially.

“The prosecution and defence have agreed a basis of plea which you and the victims are prepared to accept. These were offences which involved many thousands of pounds and all sentencing options are open.”

Three of the offences which Knight admitted were against Hugo and Michaela Montgomery-Swan and related to an agreement to build a barn-style annexe at their home at Dulford, near Honiton.

He admitted fraudulently telling Mrs Montgomery-Swan he owned £8,200 of oak flooring which was in temporary storage and £1,925 of European oak in stock.

He pleaded guilty to misleading her into paying him £4,000 by claiming to be the victim of a bank error.

He also admitted deceiving former partner Jane Hadley-Piggin into taking out a £25,000 loan by telling her he needed it to complete the conversion of a £350,000 barn he owned in Hampshire.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, prosecuting, said the Crown accept that he only received £10,000 of Mrs Hadley-Piggin’s money but that she had been left owing the full amount.

He said: “I would like to thank the victims who have come along and without their support we would not have been able to reach the resolution we have.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

A drug user has been jailed after he agreed to stash almost 1,000 ecstasy tablets for a dealer.

Read more
12:30
New Mayor of Exmouth Brian Cole (right) with new deputy mayor Jeff Trail.

Councillor Brian Cole has been named as the new Mayor of Exmouth.

Read more
Gillian Hipkins receiving her award from County Council chairman councillor Andrew Moulding

A Lympstone woman has been named Devon’s community transport enabler of the year at an awards ceremony.

Read more
10:49
The pompom field in the gardens outside Dray Court on Exmouth's Rolle Road is part of Exmouth's Art Trail, Photo: Paul Strange.

There’s an extraordinary sight on Exmouth’s Rolle Road for the next few days.

Read more
10:45

Exmouth and Exeter’s Avocet Line will feature on a government backed website intended to promote the benefits of rail travel.

Read more
10:00
Estuary League Friends outside Topsham Library, which re-opened last year. Ref ext 3635-17-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Estuary League of Friends (ELF) has revealed it has an action-packed calendar of events this year to raise funds for Topsham’s new community hub.

Read more
06:30
Ian Crook presents a cheque for £1098 on behalf of St Jame's Place Foundation to Alison Hill and Louise Frew of the Pete's Dragon charity. The money is being spent on a sofa bed for the Exmouth house. Ref exe 20-16SH 4832. Picture: Simon Horn.

Suicide bereavement charity Pete’s Dragons is celebrating receiving more than £1,000 to benefit families staying at its holiday home in Exmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:31
Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club. Ref shs 20-16SH 4304. Picture: Simon Horn.

Youngsters from Sidmouth Surf Lifesaving Club recently took to the water to mark the start of their 2016 season.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30
Church window

A Topsham church service has been hailed as a resounding success as 200 people turned out to mark Pentecost.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:34
MC2 Pearcey and MC2 Trayler being presented the Commando Spirit award by the Chairman of The Royal British Legion, Dave Turner.Ref exe Sea Cadets Awards Night 2.

Heroes who lost their lives at sea 100 years ago while fighting for their country are to be remembered in Exmouth on Sunday.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications