Victim of Portsmouth cowboy builder will have to live to 109 to be paid back the £30,000 he is owed for bodge job

A SOUTHSEA grandfather who was ripped off by a fraudulent builder is furious he will need to live to 109 before the £30,000 he is owed is paid off.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 8:53 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 8:41 pm
John Gardner, 84, at home in Southsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190130-2937)

John Gardner, 84, was left more than £50,000 out of pocket after a self-employed builder grossly overcharged him for botched roof repairs in 2016.

In July Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Mark Bibby, now 49, of Kinross Crescent in Drayton, had charged Mr Gardner £35,350 to re-tile his roof, in a job so poor that it left asbestos exposed and family memorabilia ruined.

Mr Gardner then had to pay £15, 542 to clear away the asbestos and fully repair the roof.

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John Gardner, 84, at home in Southsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190130-2937)

Bibby was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay Mr Gardner £30,000 compensation, in monthly instalments of £500.

But since an initial £500 no more payments were made and a hearing in September last year ruled that the compensation could be reduced to £100 a month after Bibby said he was struggling with payments.

At Portsmouth Magistrates' Court this week Bibby attended another hearing for not paying £29,500 after it was revealed the £100 a month he had been paying was instead for speeding fines owed from 2010, 2012 and 2018.

Speaking to the court on January 29, Bibby, claimed he was unable to find work after media reports from the case in July.

Mark Bibby

Bibby said: 'I was due to start a job with a company. I went into someone's house and because they saw the paper they said "we want you to go." I haven't been working for the last two years since I was reported to trading standards.

'I can't afford £500 a month.'

Magistrate Stephen Downham acknowledged that it was not Bibby's fault that the £100 a month had not been going to Mr Gardner and detained Bibby in court for a morning in exchange for writing off the rest of the speeding tickets.

Mr Downham said: 'You will continue with the present £100 a month.

John Gardner's house, where the repairs to the roof undertaken by Mark Bibby - who charged him 35,000 - were so poorly done that Mr Gardner then had to pay 15,000 to have them made safe by a reputable company Picture: Malcolm Wells (190130-2959)

'There's still the prospect of obtaining work. If after a period of time you find that employment is going to be impossible at any time come back to the court and explain why it is impossible.'

But for Mr Gardner of Aston Road in Southsea the new repayment scheme was not acceptable. 'It is frustrating,' he said.

'It doesn't look as though I'm going to get any money back. And if he was in prison for some period of time it's not going to help me in any way either.

'I want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.'

He added: 'He was working in the road and it so happened that I saw him and said I think there's a slate that's come off my roof, what can you do about it? He seemed to know what he was talking about. I was just taken in.'

His son-in-law, Phil Jones, said they would write to Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan to question the fairness of the system.

Mr Jones, 61, said: 'If he doesn't pay up there's no punishment.

'If he only pays back £100 a month it'll be 25 years before it's all paid back. John will be 109.

'I'm more angry about the way the criminal justice system has let John down. There has been no regard for the victim, it's all been about whether Bibby can pay it.

'John has not only lost his savings and sentimental items but his trust in people.'

Bibby declined to comment.