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

Yesterday, 16:30
Surf life saving championships on Exmouth beach. Ref exe 3134-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The five-day Surf Lifesaving Championships held on Exmouth beach have been hailed as a huge success.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:47

A third charity shop in Budleigh has received a welcome cash boost in the form of a £500 donation from a mystery benefactor.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:33
Simon Wood and Norman Hawkins

For a group of volunteers who have raised more than £133,000 in just five years, given out 400 dictionaries to schoolchildren this year alone and hand out 200 teddy bears each and every Christmas, Rotarians are surprisingly misunderstood.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:28
Waves smash into Exmouth's sea wall. Photo by Ben Tenbeth-Croskerry.

Work to replace Exmouth’s two miles of flood defences could start in just 18 months.

Read more
Thu, 10:06
The former SM Prior and Son shop in Budleigh, previously announced as the proposed site of a Tesco Express store.

Supermarket giant Tesco’s proposed Budleigh Salterton site is to go on the market, casting severe doubt on the company’s plans for a store in the town.

Read more
Thu, 06:59
Strand Gardens.  Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 6664-47-10SH.

Strict new rules could affect the number of charity events held on The Strand.

Read more
Wed, 15:09
NHS logo

Healthcare commissioners did not breach regulations when deciding who should receive a £100million contract to run community services in hospitals including Exmouth, a watchdog has ruled.

Read more
Wed, 15:07

Police are investigating an arson attack which caused £500 worth of damage to public toilets in Exmouth.

Read more
Wed, 14:26

Emergency services were called out on Wednesday, September 2, after a collision involving two cars and a shop front.

Read more
Wed, 11:17

Fire crews were called out to deal with a kitchen fire at a property in Gibson Close on Wednesday, September 2.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

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

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition


Exmouth's trusted business finder