Saturday 20 January 2018

House woman whose €108,000 was stolen settles action

Tim Healy

A WOMAN whose house was never built after €108,000 to pay for it was stolen has settled her High Court action.

Deirdre Walker had sued for alleged negligence arising out of the failure to build a property at Gurtin, Co Donegal.

Her claims were denied by her former solicitor Joseph Stewart, of Limavady, Co Derry; mortgage broker Oliver McMonagle, of Derry; and architect Eamon McCaul, of Quigley's Point, Co Donegal.

Yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy was told by Eoin McGonigal SC for Ms Walker that the action had been resolved.

The court heard that in 2002 Ms Walker obtained €170,000 from Permanent TSB (PTSB) to pay for the construction of the house. A company of which Mr McMonagle was a director, Ferrymount Developments, now in liquidation, was to build it.

On August 29, 2002, Mr Stewart flew from Derry to Dublin and received a banker's draft from PTSB for Ms Walker.

The following day, she said, Mr Stewart had the draft cashed at Ulster Bank in Moville, Co Donegal. He and his wife then took the cash to Mr McMonagle's offices in Derry.

Moments after it was delivered, the offices were held up at gunpoint and the cash was stolen. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the offence.

After the raid, construction of the house ceased. Ms Walker said she did not have the money to pay the builders.

She was left having to pay a mortgage on an unfinished property, and her life had been put on hold for 12 years.

She alleged that Mr Stewart was negligent in that he had failed to ensure monies were transferred to the builders by way of normal banking channels.

She said Mr McMonagle was negligent by getting her to use Mr Stewart as her solicitor, by failing to ensure the money was paid to the building company, or that the house was completed.

And she claimed Mr McCaul was negligent by forwarding a certificate in relation to releasing monies to PTSB without her authority. The three men denied the claims against them.

Irish Independent

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