Elderly victim speaks of being exploited by cowboy builder


One of Alan Fitzgerald’s elderly victims has revealed how the rogue trader managed to con more than £22,000 of his life savings from him.

David Old, aged 74, who is partially sighted, was first targeted by trickster Fitzgerald in March 2012.

He said Fitzgerald had offered to repave his driveway, repair his leaking car port, lay carpet in his hall and music room, and put down laminate flooring in his house.

Mr Old handed over numerous cash payments to the cowboy builder, handing over £22,300 in cash to Fitzgerald for work that was either never completed or had been hugely over-estimated.

A building surveyor later calculated the value of the work that had been done at less than £5,000.

Mr Old, who lives in Northampton, told the Chronicle & Echo: “It started when I went to the front door and I heard somebody call from across the road.

“He got out of a van, came over and pointed to a big crack in the driveway.”

Mr Old ended up handing over £200 in cash to Fitzgerald, who returned a week later to begin the work.

However, the fraudster ended up convincing Mr Old that he could help to redecorate his home, which the pensioner was struggling to maintain because of his deteriorating eye sight.

He added: “Basically I paid him up front for the whole job. I kick myself now.

“He would say to me he would take me down to the bank again. He would say I need another £6,000 for this or for that. I felt powerless really. I had trusted this man. I thought at last I had found a guy who could come and put my place in order. In total I paid him about £22,300.

“According to the chartered building surveyors, they valued the work that had been done at no more than £5,000.

“To this day there is a telephone bell dangling from its wires, the chime for the doorbell hasn’t been fixed back to the wall. They just did so much and then left me high and dry.”

He added: “I feel he has got his comeuppance now.”