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, 17:30
Tesco community champion Louisa Littlewood and store manager Leanne Eamshaw with The King's Centre food bank manager Teresa Hawkes. Ref mhh 3169-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

More than 50 boxes were filled throughout last weekend and donated to the food bank.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:45
The Red Arrows at Sidmouth. Ref shs 5778-35-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The Red Arrows were welcomed back to Sidmouth with massive cheers after a nine-year absence - despite weather conditions threatening to cancel the show.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:38
Can you call the wine man's bluff?

Teams will taste wines from around the world before hearing a different description from each of the panelists - but who is bluffing?

Read more
Yesterday, 15:09
NHS logo

Healthcare commissioners did not breach regulations when deciding who should receive a £100million contract to run community services in hospitals including Exmouth, a watchdog has ruled.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:07

Police are investigating an arson attack which caused £500 worth of damage to public toilets in Exmouth.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:26

Emergency services were called out on Wednesday, September 2, after a collision involving two cars and a shop front.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:38
Marc Harris, pictured with a chameleon, has opened Safe Haven Exotics, a reptile rescue centre near Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Reptile rescue centre opens its doors near Barnstaple.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:34
The Anchorwood Bank site, as pictured from above by Austin Wallas in June 2015

Riverside development Anchorwood Bank could be a likely location ahead of public consultation on Saturday

Read more
Yesterday, 11:22
Andrei Burton in action at the Croyde View Festival. Picture: Russ Perkin

First official sponsored music festival pulls in the punters

Read more
Yesterday, 11:18
A digital impression of the new church toilets

Work is now underway on a £150,000 project to give Sidmouth Parish Church congregation members and visitors somewhere to spend a penny.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family Notices 24



Devon's trusted business finder