Don't miss a story sign up to Midweek Herald'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

Yesterday, 18:00
Diamond Back 1.0 winner Mrs Dorward and family are presented with the bike by Ian Bruton of Cyclife (right) and Karin Frewin (left) marketing & events manager for Seaton. Picture: Simon Tutty

A Seaton woman scooped a £350 Diamond Back mountain bike during Seaton Cycle Fest.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00
The Midweek Herald's Steve Jennings and Joe Keep with Mike Huskins and Dave'Stopper' Todd of Honiton Rugby Club. Ref mhh 25-16TI 2344. Picture: Terry Ife

The Herald’s motif is proudly displayed at Honiton Rugby Club as way of thanks for its continued support over the years.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
Seaton WI have teamed with East Devon District Council to donate a bench to Seaton Wetlands

Visitors to Seaton Wetlands can enjoy the grassy views of the wildlife spot thanks to a donation from the town’s WI.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00
Staff and residents at Barley Close.
Photo by Tony Charnock, 07770 484888

Staff at a care home near Axminster have been praised for developing ‘kind and compassionate relationships’ with residents in an ‘outstanding’ report from the health regulator.

Read more
Fri, 15:59
Bernie Rosewarne, of Seaton Sea Anglers (left) presents the cheque to Nick Marks, volunteer Lifeboat Operations Manager, Lyme Regis RNLI.

Members of Lyme Lifeboat crew receive the cash donation during a barbecue at Axmouth Yacht Club

Read more
Fri, 12:00
Students with their awards at Axe Valley Community College's annual art exhibition

Professionals join students and staff to display their work at the annual exhibition

Read more
Thu, 19:11

Accident holds up vehicles heading for Lyme Regis to see the Red Arrows

Read more
Thu, 14:49
Pupils bug hunting at Seaton Wetlands

Primary school children hunt minibeasts and make charcoal over the campfire

Read more
Thu, 11:00
The Princess Royal watches a demonstration in Honiton.

Honiton received a royal visit last week when the Princess Royal officially opened the town’s recently built joint cadet centre.

Read more
Thu, 08:43
The Red Arrows in a previous display over Lyme Regis

Thousands expected to watch the crack RAF team in high speed action over the bay

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 15°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications