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

09:00

Supermarket giant Tesco’s plans for Budleigh have been opposed by town planners.

Read more
Fri, 14:38

Work on the long-awaited cycle track across The Green in Budleigh Salterton is finally set to get under way later this year.

Read more
Thu, 11:13
Kirk Westaway, who has reached the international grand final of the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition.

An Exmouth chef, who now plies his trade in Singapore, is to take on the world’s best in a prestigious competition.

Read more
Thu, 08:47
Labour candidate Steve Race

Charity campaigner and former Red Cross worker Steve Race has been picked by Labour to contest the East Devon seat in May’s General Election.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read News

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



Exmouth's trusted business finder