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


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.”


Other News Stories

The Exmouth Cares charity shop on Staples Mews which supports the Alzheimer's Society expanded in size on Saturday opening a shop next door catering mainly for men. Pictured with Lesley and David Moore who run the shops are two of their volunteers Pam Good and Barbara Ainsworth. The shop behind Mona Island on Exeter Road would welcome any donated items to help expand its stock. Ref exe 6883-47-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A Good Samaritan touched by the plight of people suffering with Alzheimer’s disease has spoken about why she set up the Exmouth Cares charity shop.

Read more
Volunteer Harry Griffin with the owner of The Point Richard White.

The Point Bar and Grill at Exmouth Marina put on a three-course meal to raise funds for the RNLI crew volunteers.

Read more
Nick Stiling with the keys to The Britannia Inn in Knowle. Ref exb 7020-48-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A community village pub is set to reopen its doors - after a Budleigh Salterton publican stepped in and bought it.

Read more
The Calais Soup Kitchen Mission will help refugees over Christmas

Good Samaritans from Exmouth will miss Christmas with their families to help feed refugees who have fled war-torn countries.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

A groom who tied the knot on water skis was filmed learning the skill in Exmouth as part of television show Don’t Tell the Bride.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00
23-05-0399SH Otter Estuary

The risk of ‘toxic’ landfill substances being released by plans to revamp the Otter Estuary is ‘low’, and more surveys will be carried out before anything is done, those behind the project have said.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:41

Fire crews were called out to a kitchen fire in Exmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
The Owen Building at Rolle College

A speech justifying Plymouth University’s approach to the Rolle College site has been branded ‘grotesque’.

Read more
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Children from the Topsham school had an assembly as part of Anti Bullying Week given by Roisin Turley: NSPCC Schools Organiser for the region. Roisin Talked to the children on staying safe and it is hoped the youngsters will help raise funds for the charity during their next term. Ref ext 7019-47-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Schoolchildren in Topsham were visited by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) with an anti-bullying message.

Read more
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Exmouth Mayor cllr Maddy Chapman and Town Crier Roger Bourgein joined Bob Dennison-the MD of Stagecoach SW to launch the new Gold Stagecoach bus service which features free wi-fi and USB charging points and will be on the 57 route between Exmouth and Exeter. Ref exe 7072-47-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Stagecoach is promising customers in Exmouth a first-class service after spending £2.1 million on a fleet of 10 new buses.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 13°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Search for a job in Exmouth

Find planning applications