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

Kat and John Lort of The Loft with staff Karl Main and Dave Legg celebrate making the top 100 of the best restaurants outside London. Ref shs 5681-31-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The owners of a popular Sidmouth restaurant say they are ‘going out on a high’ after it was named one of the best places to eat at in the country.

Read more
06:30
Becky Thornton, pictured in Nepal with one of the people she helped through her volunteering.

A Woodbury teenager is raising funds for the victims of the Nepal earthquake, having been volunteering in the country when the disaster struck.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:38
Ilfracombe Birdman 2015. Picture: Andy Keeble

Magnificent men and women in their flying machines draw huge crowds to town.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:23
Catherine and Lex Cochrane ran the Ottery St Mary 10km to raise more than £350 for the Devon Freewheelers

A couple who embarked on a whirlwind two-year mission of marathon running and mountain climbing have donated their latest fundraising efforts to the Devon Freewheelers.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
Les Lane,last year's president of the Sid valley rotary presents the keys to Mo Ayling. Ref shs 1555-31-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Blackmore Gardens was buzzing all day as the Sid Valley Rotary Club’s summer fair returned in Saturday’s brilliant sunshine.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
Teresa Sturrock receives her new scooter from Carol Gilson.

The Exeter resident had been trapped inside for three years after a flesh-eating bug destroyed her leg, and only went out when she could receive assistance.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
Bicton Street residents ensured their road looked blooming lovely for the South West in Bloom judges this week. Ref exe 4567-29-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Bicton Street has been turned into a blaze of colour after neighbours joined forces to enter South West in Bloom.

Read more
Fri, 23:16
The scene on the A39 tonight after two cars collided and caught fire. Picture: Kathryn-Racheal Ring

Road closed and reports of one man dragged from a blazing car as emergency services rush to the scene

Read more
Fri, 18:00
Nikky Williams who has become only the second woman to join the crew of Lyme Regis RNLI Lifeboat. Photo Richard Horobin

The 21-year-old sailing instructor is only the second woman to become a sea-going member of the life-saving team

Read more
Fri, 17:00
Honiton Charter Day. Town Crier, Dave Retter, shouts the market charter to deputy mayor Jackie Wadsworth and Elizabeth Thurgood of The Tudor Dance Group. Ref mhh 4970-31-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Visitors were treated to fun dancing sessions courtesy of LeRoc Modern Jive, The Tudor Dance Group and Westernspirit Line Dancing, while dog owners showed off their pets in a family dog show.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family Notices 24



Devon's trusted business finder