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Norwich homeowner tells how he had to take out £20,000 loan to finish off work by Norwich builder on trial

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 January 2019

John and Catherine Miller leaving Norwich Crown Court. John Miller is charged with fraudulent trading and money laundering which he denies, and Catherine Miller is charged with money laundering which she also denies. Picture: Archant

John and Catherine Miller leaving Norwich Crown Court. John Miller is charged with fraudulent trading and money laundering which he denies, and Catherine Miller is charged with money laundering which she also denies. Picture: Archant

Archant

A Norwich homeowner described how he and his wife took out £20,000 in loans to finish off work by a Norwich builder, who walked off the job despite being given £40,000 to build an extension, a court heard.

John Miller, of Three Mile Lane, Costessey, specialises in house extensions, but customers have complained about nine of his projects, costing £250,000 in total.

The 46-year-old is on trial for fraudulent trading and money laundering, which he denies.

Giving evidence at Norwich Crown Court, customer Paul Pearson told how Miller was hired to build an extension at his elderly in-laws home, in Norwich, as the plan had been for them to move into the annexe and for him and his wife and family to live in the main home.

He said the in-laws were getting less mobile and they thought this would be a good idea.

He said work had started off well in March 2015 but then it fell weeks behind schedule and despite numerous text messages and phone calls, Miller failed to turn up despite promises.

Mr Pearson said that in the end he gave Miller an ultimatum, in December, that if he did not turn up to finish off the work he would consider him in breach of contract and consider that he had walked off the job.

Mr Pearson told the jury he then had to get in other contractors to finish the work despite paying Miller a total of £40,000.

He said that he and his wife had to each take out £10,000 loans so the in-laws could get the work finished.

Asked by Alison Lambert, prosecuting, what it had been like to deal with the building project, Mr Pearson said it was not an experience he would be doing again soon and said: “It is not the best experience I have had in my life.”

Mark Tomassi, for Miller, claimed that Miller wanted to apologise and said that Miller had done his best but had been let down by others.

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