A cancer survivor broke down in the witness stand while recalling how a tradesman allegedly disappeared with £12,000 of her money without completing the agreed work on her home.
Susan Collins, 55, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Norman Hughes, who is accused of defrauding six householders across Tayside out of £61,570 between 2014 and 2016.
Hughes, 36, of Abbey Road in Scone, denies six charges of failing to complete work and carrying out work in a “grossly negligent manner” in Dundee, Longforgan, Blairgowrie and Arbroath.
Mrs Collins told Dundee Sheriff Court that she will “never” make her money back as she is unable to work due to health problems after having cancer in 2014.
Her husband, 70-year-old retiree Paul Collins, had to take out a loan for a further £15,000 to remedy Hughes’ work, the court heard.
The couple had hired the tradesman to re-slate the roof and do harling work on the walls of their property in Blairgowrie in February 2016.
It was agreed they would pay £8000 for the roof and a further £4000 for the harling work, and that the money would be paid when the jobs were completed, the court was told.
Mrs Collins said: “He came to me halfway through the job to say he couldn’t afford more materials.
“He produced invoices – he said he was awaiting payment for those and it was causing him difficulty, so I transferred him the £8000.
“It (the roof) was never done, it was never finished.”
Mrs Collins explained that after she transferred the £8000, a “little bit more” work was done before Hughes asked for more money.
She added: “He came looking for more money, pleading poverty, he couldn’t afford to feed his eight children etcetera. I transferred £4000 and he never came back.”
At the time, Hughes was trading under the name Tay Valley Roofing.
Mrs Collins said that the slates were put on the roof but not fixed on, and the roof was “open” at both gable ends.
In addition, she claimed Hughes abandoned an overflowing skip on her driveway, and that only a small area of the house was harled with something resembling “black concrete”, rather than the white she had asked for.
Another witness, Morag Dixon, told the court Hughes became uncontactable after she gave him a list of complaints about work he had done on her daughter’s home in Dundee.
Among the alleged issues were leaks in various places, including under the sink and from the washing machine, which was said to be plumbed incorrectly.
Ms Dixon, 58, said: “I never got to see him after that.
“I phoned several times. I said ‘It’s Morag’ and he hung up. That’s when the penny dropped that this had been a big mistake.”
The trial continues.