Royston rogue trader who fleeced St Albans victims handed jail term
PUBLISHED: 15:27 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 09 April 2019
A St Albans victim of a Royston rogue trader has said her "family's lives were destroyed by a professional con artist" after he was sentenced to nine months in prison on Friday.
Tony Mottram – who previously lived in Royston and received a court summons at an address in Meadow Way, Therfield – pleaded guilty to engaging in a course of conduct of unfair commercial practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, contravening the requirements of professional diligence and failure to inform consumers of their rights to cancellation.
The charges refer to three family homes the 45-year-old worked on in St Albans and one in Barnet, where Mottram agreed to substantial building work to give them their dream homes – seeing them hand over more than £300,000 in total.
Several months into builds which were only supposed to take weeks to complete, live wires were left hanging from ceilings, roofs were left unprotected to the elements and one family discovered that a roof was waiting to collapse in on itself.
Mottram ran two building and loft conversion companies, Build Design Construction Limited and Design Build Construction Limited – the second of which was established just three days after the first went into liquidation, owing money to creditors.
Under the latter name, Mottram – a former director of Royston gym A10 Health & Fitness who last address was given as Victoria Cottages in Cottered – started to carry out building work on a St Albans home in 2016, and made the owners’ lives hell for two years.
One of the victims, who asked to remain anonymous, told this paper: “He is a professional con artist who has destroyed a lot of lives. It’s a shame he got just nine months.
“He came in and destroyed our home, he thought it was OK to con us and bribe us. He told us he had cancer, he kept asking for more and more money to continue.
“I was trapped. We had two young children and he turned their lives upside down. We had to live in a building site with little or no money to continue building our home.
“We feel destroyed by him. It’s still with us, but are trying to move on from this.”
The case was referred to Hertfordshire Trading Standards who carried out a detailed investigation, discovering the four families had spent an additional £200,000 just to rectify faults and complete unfinished work.
The victim continued: “Trading Standards were our lifeline. Without them, he probably wouldn’t have been prosecuted.
“It’s hard to say how I feel about him, but he doesn’t deserve to be here – he can’t do that to people. Others need to be aware what he has done to people, people should be cautious of him.”
At sentencing ,the defendant’s ill-health was given in mitigation and the court heard that Mottram had spiralled into depression as a result of his previous company going into liquidation. He also said he had no intention of misleading the families affected when he first entered into the contracts with them.
Judge Nigel Lithman QC said: “Looking at the number of times, standards of work, nature of conduct, sums involved, there is no question for suspending a sentence in a case like this.”
Hertfordshire County Council’s deputy director of community protection, Guy Pratt, said: “This conviction was the result of many months of hard work by our Trading Standards team whose efforts have resulted in this significant sentence.
“This case highlights the misery and mental anguish caused to residents who unknowingly place their trust and hard earned savings with the wrong tradespeople.
“Builders are advised to ensure they can deliver the contracts they take on in a professionally diligent manner, or run the risk of investigation and prosecution.”
For further information on finding a trustworthy trader, or to report a trader, contact the Hertfordshire Trading Standards team.