PUBLISHED: 18:06 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:24 10 April 2019
A Suffolk couple fear they may never be compensated for the emotional damage caused by a botched extension to their home.
Liz Cummins and Kelly Cameron attended Ipswich Crown Court to see dishonest trader Mark Everett receive a suspended jail term after they were quoted £113,000 to rectify work valued at £18,500 and deemed “fundamentally unsafe”.
Ms Cummins used inheritance to fund work in Garland Street, Bury St Edmunds, including a loft room for her twin daughters, after meeting Everett through a friend.
The family moved into a rental property after a £55,000 contract was agreed in early 2015, but had to extend the lease with work not finished by the completion date.
After the couple took concerns to building control in September, a structural engineer found the foundations laid over a well, while the removal of tie beam had left the structure unsound.
Victim statements, read by prosecutor Alison Hollis, said the “catastrophic” effects had put stress on the couple’s relationship and the lives of their children.
Ms Cameron, who borrowed £10,000 from her father for legal fees, described the “heartbreak” of feeling unsafe in the home she had lived in for 22 years.
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Everett had admitted being a party to fraudulent business on the day of his trial in February,
Mitchell Cohen, mitigating, said the 52-year-old, with no previous convictions, had entered into a contract he could not complete, as a result of a dispute.
He said Everett had suffered his own financial stress after selling his home in Whepstead Road, Hawstead, and moving into his parents’ Risby address with his two sons.
While a Proceeds of Crime Act process continues as £100,000 of Everett’s assets remain frozen, prosecution costs could be £22,000, and compensation almost £50,000, based on fees for subcontractors and further restoration, minus the £18,500 value of the work.
Everett received a two-year jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 180 hours of unpaid work to be completed in the next year.
The couple believe £50,000 will cover half the cost of fixing work they described as “still in a mess”.
Mary Strang, of Suffolk Trading Standards, which brought the prosecution, said: “We are pleased to have brought this rogue trader to justice. Not only is it important to secure such convictions to protect residents, but also to protect legitimate traders.”
For help with rogue traders, call Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.