‘Animal Auschwitz’ farmer now jailed for being a Cowboy BuilderBeat The Cowboy Builder
A farmer behind the animal auschwitz neglect case in Britain, has been jailed for four years after also being exposed as a cowboy builder.
James Gray also targeted Mr Margerum, of Swindon, Wilts, saying he had heard he had been the victim of cowboy builders.
James ‘Jamie’ Gray was jailed for six months in 2009 for a catalogue of horrific abuse against horses and ponies by him and his family at Spindles Farm, Hyde Heath – which was dubbed ‘Animal Auschwitz’.
But Gray has now received a four-year sentence after conning pensioners out of money through poor building work.
The first victim of his fraud was 88-year-old Dennis Rhodes, who was charged £20,250 for work that was so ‘shoddy’ it was valued by an expert at £150.
While on bail for that offence, Gray targeted 80-year-old David Margerum, draining his bank account of £13,926, leaving the pensioner confused and distressed.
His victim died a few months later at the age of 81.
A judge told 50-year-old Gray: “Anybody who has heard the detail of these two offences can have absolutely no sympathy for you.
“Each of them was premeditated and you seemed to be aware of where vulnerable targets were living.”
Prosecutor Daniel Fugallo described how Dr Rhode, an expert in the history of printing in Europe, was exploited by Gray.
Mr Fugallo said: “In a nutshell, he bamboozled an 88-year-old man out of £20,000 by persuading him to hand over cheques and cash in return for building work which, in so far as it was done at all, was either unnecessary or so poorly done that it was virtually worthless.”
He also targeted Mr Margerum, of Swindon, Wilts, saying he had heard he had been the victim of cowboy builders.
The ruse was discovered when neighbour Wayne Hayward noticed Gray coming and going and one day went over to check on Mr Margerum.
He was shown a bank statement which indicated the victim’s account had dropped from £18,000 pounds to about £300 pounds.
Mr Hayward said he felt sick and he contacted the police.
Gray denied any guilt but later admitted another single count of fraud by false representation.
Gray received his sentence at Swindon Crown Court on Friday, April 25.
Once a fraudster…
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