Sunday 25 June 2017

‘They threw out everything including my husband’s ashes’ – Mum left devastated as dead son’s house ‘gutted’ by vulture company

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A mum was left devastated after the home of her deceased son was repossessed and “gutted” by a vulture fund company.

Vivienne Thompson from Clontarf, Co Dublin was mourning the loss of her son David (44) when she discovered that his house had been repossessed and gutted.

“David was doing well for himself and he bought the family home from my mum. He was living in it, he was married and the next thing my husband took ill with cancer and died within 13 months of being diagnosed. We didn’t see it coming.

“David started drinking and unfortunately things got worse and worse. It came to the stage where there was no helping him,” Vivienne told Joe Duffy on RTÉ’s Liveline.

“In 2011, he lost his shop in Clontarf. In the meantime he went through a separation and in order to buy his ex wife out, he re-mortgaged the house. Unfortunately when he started drinking he couldn’t afford the repayments of the home.”

In 2012, David (44) took ill and died from septicaemia.

“He still had mortgage repayments to pay. I knew they were going to repossess the house but I thought ‘so be it’.”

Vivienne told Joe Duffy that she would go up to the house every few months and check on his mail.

“In 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was very ill with that and I was left with heart failure from the chemotherapy. The rest of the family would go up religiously and respond to mail when needed.”

She said she didn’t hear anything about the house until September when her daughter rang to say the house was being gutted.

“I could do nothing. My son went up and they had changed the locks and he took videos of David’s clothes thrown all over the garden. He looked in the window and said the house was gutted.”

Vivienne said she was left distraught that her husband’s ashes had been taken from the mantelpiece.

“When my husband passed in 2007 he was cremated and I got everyone in the house a little urn, silver and gold. David had that one the mantelpiece on a wooden plaque that says Bernard Thompson rest in peace. They took that and I have no idea where it is now.

“When I inquired about why we hadn’t been allowed to take our personal belongings they said they spoke to a daughter of mine and she was to forward them on an address. That didn’t happen. Everybody knows me on that road, could they not have come looking for me, I only live down the road.”

She said neighbours saw the house being gutted and that there were two men, a skip and a white van.

“They were throwing the stuff in the skip and what was worth something in the van.”

The repossession company said they sent a letter to David’s house giving four week’s notice that the house would be cleared out.

“We only went up every few months to check the mail. I don’t know where the ashes have gone, they were probably thrown in the garden.”

Vivienne said she doesn’t mind that the house was up for sale.

“I have no problem with that. The fact is they did not give us enough notice.

In a statement to Liveline the estate agent dealing with the sale of the house said: “We wish to confirm we acted within the law and treated the deceased person’s family with respect and professionalism. At all stages of the receiver process correspondence was sent to the property explaining exactly what the next steps were.”

“I would have gone on if I knew. The most important thing is the ashes.

“The next door neighbour said they knocked and asked was anyone living in the house and she said no he passed on. But they didn’t ask did he have any family."

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