This with reference to our civil legal system, but when an honest working class man seeks justice against a provable liar and fraudster who has wrecked his life, and the lives of his family too, then, - unless it is of the Devil himself, - why should there be any kind of a 'system' at all to beat?Who was it that said that crime doesn't pay? It certainly does. Just ask Dennis Bottomley of,
In the past I have turned to the legal 'system' in the forms of both the police and the civil courts, and yet I still remain a victim of crime whilst this man, whose dishonesty and deceptions caused me the loss of everything that I had, continues to prosper at my expense.
When I first met Bottomley back in 1984/85, although I didn't know it at that time, he owned nothing worth anything at all, whilst I had my own home and also owned the adjacent property, which I had bought in readiness for my handicapped son to come and live with me.Just a few years later our roles were reversed. Bottomley owned his own home at my expense, and I owned nothing.
When I first met Bottomley I'd been self employed as a small works builder for two years and was working on a house opposite the house he lived in at that time in Fourth Street, Low Moor, Bradford.
What a lovely couple! His wife, Shirley, was forever on her doorstep calling myself, and the lads over for cups of tea, whilst Bottomley was very friendly towards myself in particular.
He told me that he owned the house he was living in at that time and that he was selling it and was in the process of buying three derelict cottages from the Bradford Council which would come with an improvement grant on them.
He used a walking stick and he told me that, because he was
registered as disabled, he was a special case, and the grant would be 90% of
any estimates providing that those estimates were reasonable.
He told me that I was the man who he wanted to do the job because I got stuck into the job and didn't go lunchtime boozing like a lot of his builder mates did.
We became friends, or so I thought, and both Bottomley and his wife visited my home socially, and were impressed at my works there and how I had transformed a one up one down terraced property into a three bed-roomed family home.
He told me that he supplemented his disability benefit by wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, and that he had lots of friends in the building trades who owed him favours.
He told me that if I would do the works for the grant figure, which he assured me would be 90% of my reasonable estimates, then through these friends, he would pay his 10% share of my estimates, in kind, by providing all the timbers, plaster, electric wire and fittings, and glass that would be required.
I readily agreed to this and Bottomley told me that because the value of the materials that he would be supplying would be greater than his 10% share of my estimates he wanted me to reciprocate by providing some better quality items than the grant would allow for.
He wanted custom built 'country cottage' type external doors, Georgian windows, plastered arches and any odds and sods that would lend towards an 'olde worlde' country cottage effect.
A bit of give and take between mates, it was still a fair deal, and I agreed it.
Once I finished the job at Low Moor and moved on Bottomley kept in constant touch with me by visiting the jobs I was working on during the day and calling at the pub where he knew I would be on Wednesday evenings and weekends.In May of 1985 Bottomley got the Councils Schedule of Works forms to me and I made out my estimates of £14,000 + and returned them to him.
He kept telling me that he had applied for the grant, and that he had been told that the grants were being processed slowly, but it would come through and it would be 90% of my estimates.
He seemed eager to have his dream cottage a.s.a.p.
Urged on by Bottomley, I started the works on the first day of August 1985.
It was not until years later that I discovered that my starting the works had been synonymous with Bottomley making his application for the grant.Document no. 1
Bottomley deliberately withheld his application for the grant, whilst badgering me to start the works, because he knew that there was a ceiling limit to the grant that was thousands of pounds below my estimates, and for his scheme to succeed, it was important to him that I should be committed to the job before I discovered this.
In accordance with our agreement, I provided the better quality
windows and doors towards the job, but when the time came for Bottomley to supply
the materials agreed upon, then apart from the glass, he provided nothing.
To progress the works I had to buy the materials myself and I informed him that I would bill him for them and he agreed with this, telling me that he'd "make it right at the end of the job."
Not only this, but a total of sixteen extra works, or variations to contract, were also undertaken on Bottomleys insistence and assurances that he would "make it right at the end of the job."
Bottomley knew that my funds were limited, my works being funded by an overdraft secured against my home and property, and each time that I asked him for some interim money towards the contract price, the extra materials which I had paid for, and the extra works I was undertaking, he would tell me that he was still waiting for the money from the sale of his house in Fourth Street to come through.
In November 1985, very close to the end of the job, things
were getting very desperate financially, and when I told Bottomley that I must
have £3,000 from the money he owed me, it was then that Bottomley showed me
what his game really was.
He told me that he had no intention of paying me anything, not a penny, and that all that I would be getting would be the grant money of £9,180, and that if I didn't like it I was to get off the job and he would bring another builder in to finish the job off.
I told him that I had to see the job through just to get something back to reduce the debts he had caused me, and then I would sue him through the courts for the rest of the money he owed me for the works agreed in our contract plus all the extras that he'd conned out of me.
It didn't seem to bother him, and he allowed me to continue, and finish the works unhindered.
It was all a deliberate, cold-blooded, and callously planned con trick from start to finish.
The evidence in proof of Bottomleys deceptions has existed from the start, more so once litigation commenced.
Bottomley was the first to gain a legal aid certificate through the firm of Lumb and Kenningham in Bradford town centre, and very early in proceedings it became very obvious that Bottomley was seeking to evade his debts by criminal means.
The first document procured by, or for him, was a supposedly expert report drawn up by a surveyor by the name of Paul S Withey.
This report was a fabrication, a complete pack of lies, many based on what Bottomley had told Withey, and many more based on what Withey had claimed to have actually seen for himself during an examination of the property.
A Defence and Counterclaim based on this report was issued by Bottomleys lawyers, which reiterated, and even enlarged upon, the same fabricated claims contained in the report.
From the very day that they were first issued, these fabrications were easily disproved by photographs and documents and receipts that were in my possession and which I passed on to my then solicitor, Michael Ryan.
This was not just a simple debt case. It was out and out provable fraud.
Despite this fact, Michael Ryan did absolutely nothing on my behalf and it took him two and a half years just to get a meeting with a barrister.
At our first meeting the barrister, Gordon Shelton, instructed Michael Ryan to obtain an expert report of our own.
This he did and months later, at our second meeting with Gordon Shelton, the barrister would not go beyond the Withey report, telling me that Withey was a well-respected expert in the courts and that if I had the temerity to challenge his report, I'd be laughed out of the court.
Our own 'expert witness', a building consultant by the name of Colin Jarvis was present at the conference.
He had inspected my works and authored a report, which refuted that of Withey in its entirety, and yet when I turned to him for support, he shrugged his shoulders and said that Withey was more of an expert than himself.
Gordon Shelton told me that his advice to the legal aid board would be that my certificate be withdrawn.
I was out in the cold simply because all the lawyers I had met in Bradford had more concern for Witheys professional reputation than my need for, and right to, justice against a so easily proven crook.
A couple of months later, I learnt that my legal aid certificate was still in force and, to escape the cabal of professionals in Bradford, I had the certificate transferred to the firm of Rowley and Blewitts solicitors in Manchester.
A solicitor there, Mr Parr, seemed to be making all the right noises and in a very short space of time had arranged a conference with a barrister.
Before this conference could take place Bottomleys solicitors and Paul Withey procured a report concerning the roof to Bottomleys property from a structural engineer by the name of P H Gregory.
The damning part of his report was the claim that the roof could collapse at any time without being subject to its full imposed snow load.
This report containing this claim was not made until three and a half years after the start of litigation. If this report had any truth, why had the roof not already collapsed within this three and a half years time period?
On a renewed date of conference the barrister, Craig Sephton, conceded that the Withey report had several weaknesses but then seized upon the report of the structural engineer as an excuse for having my legal aid certificate withdrawn.
I have discovered beyond any doubt at all that when the interests of lawyers, for whatever reason, conflict with the interests of justice, then injustice is inevitable.
Despite these experiences, I was still hopeful that I could depend upon the British legal system, reputedly the fairest system in the world, to give me justice against Bottomley, a wicked and unscrupulous crook.
I could not have been more wrong!
Failed by lawyers, it was nearly five years before I got a
Having sold everything I had, to pay off the debts together with the mounting interest that Bottomley had caused me, I was on the verge of bankruptcy left with no choice but to act as a litigant in person.
Bottomley on the other hand, had access to a bottomless purse
courtesy of his fraudulently gained legal aid certificate, and was represented
by a legal executive, Nicholas P Luty, and first one barrister, John Walford,
and then another barrister, Andrew Thompson.
After five days of hearings spread over five months, Judge Arthur Hutchinson QC rejected the evidence of the surveyor, Paul S Withey with 'regret' and 'embarrassment.'
He also rejected the evidence of the structural engineer, P H Gregory.
This rejecting of expert evidence vindicated me against all the lawyers who had failed me but, to my chagrin and despair, Judge Arthur Hutchinson Q.C. also stated,
"I am satisfied that Mr Peters agreed to do the work for the grant money plus the slates from the roof."Document no. 2
The evidence shows that Judge Arthur Hutchinson Q.C. could
not have been more wrong.
These were the claims that Bottomley fraudulently and successfully put to him, and yet these claims were different to, and in conflict with, all of his previously documented claims, which had got him legal aid, and which had remained constant for all of the previous almost five years.
I started the works in the first week of August 1985 and six weeks later, after the Bradford Council had written to Bottomley informing him that the grant money available was subject to a ceiling limit of £10,200 with a sum of only £9,180 payable towards the works from the Council, he responded by replying to them in an handwritten letter,
Document no 3.
" the money is insufficient according to four builders who I have contacted. The builder who has started the work, has now stopped, as the figure he submitted was £14,000."
In June of 1986 Bottomley lied to one of his expert witnesses, the surveyor, Paul S. Withey, when he told him that I had costed the works at £10,200 thus causing Paul Withey thereafter in his report, to wrongly refer to this figure of £10,200 as the 'contract price.'Document no.4.
In July of 1986 a Defence and Counterclaim was issued by Bottomleys legally aided barrister, John Walford, and whilst the false 'contract figure' of £10,200 was still maintained, Bottomley went into detail and was very clear and precise in claiming that 90% of this sum would be payable from the Bradford Metro Council with the remaining 10% due from himself.
Document no. 5.
" if the said works had been carried out and completed in accordance with the said terms of the said agreement the Plaintiff would be entitled to a further £1,155."
Bottomleys claim to Judge Hutchinson was, " grant £9,180.00. Agreement was I would not pay anything only the grant figures. I was to pay nothing."Document no. 6.
The earliest documented reference to the stone slates was made in September of 1985 when Bottomley wrote to the Bradford Council,
Document no. 7.
"The cottages which are to be made into one were absolutely derelict in every sense of the word with the roofs fallen in."
This was the truth of the situation, and seeing little value in the slates, well before the works started, and in my presence, Bottomley made an agreement, concerning any that could be salvaged, with the owner of the adjacent property, Ian Bailey.
As Mr Bailey told Judge Hutchinson in 1990,
Document no. 8.
"He had stone tiles (slates) coming off his roof which I (he) said I could use on mine, but for this he wanted a stone fireplace and lintel (plinth) building of stone.."
In June of 1986 Bottomley told Paul Withey that the slates were his and that I had taken the slates, causing Mr Withey to write in his report
Document no. 9.
"Mr Peters took the slates himself and one can only assume that he has used them on another job/contract or that he sold them himself."
In July of 1986, through the Defence and Counterclaim document, Bottomley reiterated that,
Document no. 10.
" the Plaintiff has retained and/or sold the stone slates of the original roof which he removed from the said property. The Plaintiff (Defendant) assesses the value of the said slates at £2,000. 00 "
At this same time in 1986, Bottomley attempted to substantiate this valuation figure of £2000 by procuring a false valuation document.This read,
Document no. 11.
"Approximate price for the Yorkshire stone slates which are coming off the roof at the above property £2000.00 including ridges. Estimated amount of slate being 16 tons plus ridge,"
That this document was fraudulent is beyond doubt since it was written in the present tense and dated 12 November 1985.
At this date in November 1985 a 'Cottage Red' interlocking concrete tiled roof was in place and, as verified in court by the building inspector Anthony Kershaw, had been there since September 1985.Document no. 12.
It was impossible that there could be slates 'coming off the
roof' in November 1985.
The supposed valuation document was a forgery, the procurement of which was a criminal act by Bottomley.
In 1990, the story changed again and Bottomley told Judge Hutchinson,
Document no. 13.
"I said if he would do the work for grant money he could have the slates."
In May 2003 I made application to the Bradford County Court to have the judgement of Judge Arthur Hutchinson Q.C. set aside on the grounds that it had been obtained by fraud.
When prompted by Judge John Cockcroft about the contract with regard to the slates, Bottomley changed the story again and told Judge Cockcroft that he had given me the slates in return for my supplying better items than he would have normally got.Document no. 14.
Liars need good memories and thirteen years apart from each other, after firstly claiming that I had taken them, Bottomley has now told two different judges two different reasons why he had supposedly given me the slates.
Bottomley's claim to Judge John Cockcroft was that he had given me the slates in return for my supplying better quality items.In June 1986
Bottomley was very explicit in claiming to the surveyor, Paul Withey, that he had provided these items.
Mr Withey wrote in his report,
"Mr Bottomley has made a statement that he informed the contractor that the price he had excepted was to include all new materials but he wished to purchase slightly better quality materials than the grant provided for in some instances and so he purchased some of the materials himself and at his own expense and therefore they should have been an adjustment in the contract price to allow for the materials which he purchased out of his own resources."
Mr Withey went on to write,
Document no. 15.
"The georgion style window frames were in fact purchased by Mr Bottomley at the price of £340.00 although they should have been supplied by Mr Colin Peters at his expense and again therefore an adjustment in the contract price of £340.00 should be made in Mr Bottomleys favour."
A month later, come the issuing of the Defence and Counterclaim document, Bottomley progressed his false claims a step further and claimed that he had also provided the two custom-built outside doors and one inside door.Document no. 16.
Immediately before Judge Hutchinson began his summing up Bottomley, through a barrister, Andrew Thompson, conceded the counterclaim in respect of all the items that he had claimed to having provided, to the court.Document no. 17.
This was akin to an admission from Bottomley that he had been lying to the court. Committing perjury. A criminal offence.
A large and fabricated counterclaim that was originally meant to offset the monies owed to me, should any claim of contract fail, was rejected in its entirety.
All of the deceptions which gained Bottomley £32,000 worth of legal aid were either rejected or conceded, or changed into claims that were different to, and conflicted with, the deceptions which gained him a favourable judgement.
Bottomley obtained goods and services from myself by deception, and through the court, perverted the course of justice, and evaded liability by deception, and gained a pecuniary advantage by deception.
Bottomleys acts of fraud were not just against the legal aid board and myself.
IN 1986, he also defrauded the Bradford Social Services Directorate
out of a sum of £135.
This money was applied for by Bottomley on the grounds of hardship, and paid to him to enable him to pay to me his share of a small additional adaptation grant.
At no time have I received this money.
Bottomley appropriated it for himself.
This fraudulent dishonest act by Bottomley in 1986 begs the question; If the purpose of his letter to the Bradford Council in September 1985 had been successful, and he had procured more monies from the Council, would he have kept that money for himself or would he have paid it to me?
This letter was an impassioned plea for more monies, and this to the point of seeking sympathy and falsely claiming that he was to have his legs amputated before Christmas 1985.Document no. 19.
I was not aware of the existence of this letter, and its contents, until it was produced by a Council Officer at the court hearing in 1990, and I was not allowed sight of it until nearly two weeks after the end of the hearing, on 25/2/91.
It is wrong that I have never been allowed to question Bottomley, about the contents of this letter in a court of law.
Bottomley cannot have it both ways.
If his intention was to keep the money for himself, as he has
done with another smaller grant, it was theft, dishonesty.
It was, once again, fraud against the Bradford Metropolitan Council and myself.
If on the other hand, his intention was to pay me this money, then this belies his claim to Judge Arthur Hutchinson that the agreement was that I was working for the grant money only of £9,180.
The evidence is conclusive that Bottomley has successfully pursued his fraud and deceptions through the courts and the legal system,
Through his deceptions Bottomley gained a £60,000 property
at no cost to himself.
He lived in it for a few years, rented it out for a few years, and then sold it at what must have been a handsome profit, considering the fact that, apart from the 'muck money' which he paid the Bradford Council for three derelict cottages, he has paid nothing else for it.
I paid though. I most certainly did. I paid with everything that I once had.
I have sought justice against this evil man for many years during which time I have endured much stress, humiliation, and hardship, whilst Bottomley has sought to impress his friends and neighbours by posing as a man of substance with his wealth and his regular continental holidays.
I ask for justice against this crook and, even though it might be that I cannot get recompense for myself, I ask that he be deprived of his unlawfully gained assets through the Proceeds of Crime Bill/Act.