Couple jailed for trying to sell house that wasn't theirs - Luton

10/04/2014

A husband and wife, who tried to sell a house that wasn't theirs, have today, Thursday, 10 April 2014, been jailed for 12 months each.

David Alexander, 48, a former estates surveyor with Bedford Council, was able to get details of the house from a list of vacant properties.  Then he and his wife Judith, 47, posed as the couple who actually owned the house in Brampton Close in Luton to try and sell it to a property buying company based in Leeds for £146,000.

Luton Crown Court were told the owners had no idea what was going on.

The Alexanders, of Brookfield Road in Bedford, had come up with their fraudulent plan in a desperate attempt to clear their debts.

At Luton Crown Court today, the pair, who have two young children, pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud and damaging property.

Judge Barbara Mensah, hearing the case, was told that it was last summer that the Alexanders came up with their plan. By then they were in desperate financial straits, with debts of between £5000 to £6000. A bridging loan they had previously taken out was proving impossible to pay back and, to make matters worse, he had been suspended from his job and his £36,000 salary cut in half.

Ann Evans, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said it was against that background that mother of two Alexander had first phoned The Property Buying Company in Leeds pretending to be one of the owners.

The court was told the house in Brampton Close had been bought by a husband and wife in 1972. The couple, David Dominy and his wife Marion, had eventually divorced in the mid 1980s, but they had decided to keep the house in both their names. Last summer the property was empty.

Miss Evans said that, in the phone call, Mrs Alexander purported to be Marion and said she was keen for a quick sale. As a result of the call, Mr Alexander met a representative from The Property Buying Company, pretending to be David Dominy. He was even able to hand over a set of keys to the company and Miss Evans said that in fact the locks on the house in Brampton Close had been changed by the Alexanders.

In the weeks that followed, the deception continued as the Alexanders received documents they were required to sign from the company, as well as a firm of solicitors appointed to handle the sale. The court was told the Alexanders had shown a degree of naivety using their own telephones and giving their home address during their offending. It was also accepted that their lack of identity documents to prove they were the Dominys would have eventually led to the plan falling apart.

Judge Mensah said: "It was a planned enterprise by the two of you," adding: "It was dishonest from the outset."

The judge said that the couple who own the house had been left shocked by what happened last summer.

She jailed the Alexanders for 12 months.

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