A historic home has been left in a state of utter carnage by ‘cowboy’ builders despite the homeowner spending nearly £30,000.
Dominic Gauden spent every last penny that he was left in his mother’s will on the restoration of his Victorian house in Moseley, Birmingham.
Now, he cannot even afford the new headstone planned for her grave, Birmingham Live reports.
Shockingly, Dominic said that he only wanted a leak fixed, but that the men he employed took the roof off of his 124-year-old home instead.
He added that scaffolding had been erected around the property and had remained in situ for three-and-a-half years – despite the work taking less than a month to complete.
He paid £28,100 on the renovation but claims he has been left with a gaping hole where the back bay window once was, no garage doors, interior walls stripped of plaster and flooding so severe the fire brigade had to be called.
The flood is the result of failing to install guttering according to Dominic.
He says that this caused a ceiling to collapse and debris to damage a piano and valuable rugs, as well as plaster to fall from the walls.
The condition of his home has left its mark on Dominic, who has been signed off work with depression for 12 months.
Dominic added that he is broke, surrounded by rubble and disarray and tortured by the idea that his mother, acclaimed animal artist Wendy Gauden, who died five years ago at the age of 75, would be let down.
He claims that his judgement was clouded by grief over his mother’s death and the depression medication when he decided to broker the deal for the work with a pub acquaintance.
He is unsure of the real identity of the “master builder” who executed the work and was not given a business card or address.
Dominic even gave cash in hand payments without asking for receipts.
The railway museum volunteer said: “I have spent all that my mum left me in her will.
“All the money my mum saved up and it’s just gone. I’m in a daze.
“I feel ashamed and embarrassed about the whole thing. I blame myself for being talked into it.
“Mum would be turning in her grave. She would never have allowed this to happen – she was assertive and strong-minded. I feel I have let her down.
“There are no light thoughts, only dark ones. I’ve tried to block it out with anti-depressants. I’m gutted.”
Dominic belatedly contacted West Midlands Police and Action Fraud, a public body set up to probe allegations of malpractice, but the 51-year-old admits he should have put his foot down much, much sooner.
When it came to the workers, Dominic was remarkably compliant.
“They got me to go to the pub all the time,” he said.
“Really awful pubs in places you’d never see me drinking in.
“Once they said they’d got tickets to an ’80s weekend in Butlins.
“I really didn’t want to go, but I did. It was like a horror story – they spent all the time in the bookies.
“I trusted him. He was quite reserved. He went in the attic, looked up and said he could see light. The roof was off in a week.”
During those few weeks the cowboy builders were at his home, a number of problems were detected and the work undertaken grew and grew, costing Dominic more and more.
He was told that the property needed “underpinning”, something which has since been disputed by the council – but work building a large trench began.
The garage doors were removed and gaping holes in the property where the doors once sat remain.
The worst of it all for Dominic was when the water-logging ceiling fell on his prize piano in 2016.
Dominic, who says shame and lack of finance have stopped him having the handiwork put right, said: “I feel contempt for him and contempt – self-loathing – for myself.
“It is a terrible job. I’ve had sleepless nights over this business, it’s hindered my recovery massively.”