Tuesday 23 January 2018

Couple who blew €500,000 lose house

The Freeman house in Villa Park Gardens
The Freeman house in Villa Park Gardens

Ray Managh

A couple who, according to a judge, once owned six houses and blew more than €500,000 on themselves in a spending spree, have lost their upmarket family home.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane, granted Ulster Bank Ireland a possession order against Anthony and Miriam Freeman for their Villa Park Gardens home on Navan Road, Dublin.

Barrister John Donnelly told the court the Freemans borrowed €460,000 from the bank in 2003 and currently the balance on the mortgage stood at €590,000, which included arrears of €190,000.

Mr Donnelly, who appeared in the Circuit Civil Court with leading finance recovery solicitors Hugh J Ward, said the Freemans had not made any repayments since July 2013.

Illness

Anthony Freeman, who was not legally represented, told the court his wife could not attend because of illness.

They were disputing the amount the bank was claiming. He said orders made by Mr Justice Brian McGovern in the High Court, after the appointment of a receiver over other properties, were under appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judge Linnane said that the Freemans had been given a final opportunity of saving their home. She made an order for possession against the Freemans and granted them a stay of three months to find alternative accommodation.

Earlier Mr Donnelly had said the Freemans were repeating issues made in a High Court case against Bank of Scotland, all of which were rejected by Judge McGovern.

Judge McGovern had stated in his judgment that the couple between 1996 and 2006 had bought six houses in Dublin. He said this had been financed by First Active Building Society and later re-mortgaged with Bank of Scotland for €1,406,000.

When the First Active debt had been paid the couple had been left with a €546,000 surplus which they spent on themselves over 16 months.

Judge McGovern said the Freemans had gone on a spending spree, buying expensive cars and at least one holiday in the US, drawing down almost $60,000.

Judge McGovern threw out all of the issues raised by the Freemans in their High Court action against Bank of Scotland. The decision has since been appealed to the Supreme Court.

Irish Independent

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