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

Pupils try their hand at instrument making.

Students joined artist Michael Fairfax to create sound instruments from cherry wood.

Read more
07:00
Pete Lowres

Devon Freewheeler volunteer Pete Lowres, 46, knows every penny that drops into the charity’s collection pots is vital to continue its lifeline work.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30
Craig Boyde who will be riding from Watchet to West Bay. Ref mhh 5896-17-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Craig Boyde will be cycling from Watchet in Somerset to West Bay in Dorset on Sunday, May 17.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:30
Local dignitries at the gardening event at the Honiton Hospice day care centre. Ref mhh 5386-16-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A team from Honiton Round Table and other volunteers gave their time to help plant the garden at Hospiscare’s new day hospice in Honiton.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

Devon Freewheelers operates daily ‘hand-to-mouth’, never knowing where its next penny will come from.

Read more
Fri, 17:30
The Lions' Santa float could enjoy an even brighter welcome when it visits Colyton again this year. Photo Ian Barradale.

An offer is in place to brighten up the town with new Christmas lights this year.

Read more
Fri, 11:30
Picture credit: Ministry of Defence/PA Wire

Five candidates for Tiverton and Honiton have been answering questions at various hustings events.

Read more
Fri, 09:08
Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson with 3 year old Stephanie during a General Election campaign visit to Advantage Children's Day Nursery in Surbiton, Surrey. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

David Cameron is launching the Conservatives’ first English manifesto, with a promise of changes to ensure that English MPs have the final say on income tax rates in England.

Read more
Fri, 07:59
Pupils at All Saints Primary School celebrate their glowing Ofsted report. Picture CHRIS CARSON

Ofsted inspectors rate it ‘good with oustanding features’

Read more
Thu, 15:30
Fire crews pump out the Axminster hair and beauty salon. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Axminster hair and beauty salon gets a wash and dry

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 2°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Midweek Herald e-edition today E-edition



Honiton's trusted business finder