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I'd be a less shoddy builder, says OAP
By The Oxford Times, on 24 November 2011
Crystal Hewlett needed to repair a water-damaged kitchen after she agreed to have her bathroom renovated by Trevor Bateman, who is standing trial at Oxford Crown Court with fellow tradesman David Merriman and former Swindon Town footballer Phil King.
Mrs Hewlett, who suffers from epilepsy and was half-blind at the time due to cataracts, told the jury on day two of the trial she was convinced by 54-year-old Bateman to install a ‘wet room’ in early 2009 after asking him to replace a leaking shower tray.
She said the work was so shoddy that water leaked from the bathroom into the kitchen below forcing her to shell out £12,000 for a replacement she is still paying for.
Mrs Hewlett, who is a carer for her sister, said she only regained use of her shower last week after remedial work to correct Bateman’s initial installation more than two and a half years ago.
She said the defendant’s original work was never finished, did not drain properly, had the wrong tiles and featured other defects.
“I had to get a new kitchen because they (the units) all got wet and soggy,” she said. “I haven’t used the shower until now. I had it done last week.
“It has taken more than two years to save sufficient money to be able to do it.”
Mrs Hewlett was contacted by Oxfordshire Trading Standards after letters she had written to Bateman and Merriman, which went unanswered, were found by investigators, the court heard.
She said: “During this time I was almost blind with cataracts. I really couldn’t see properly what they were doing.”
Under cross-examination from Robert Courts, defending Bateman, Mrs Hewlett said: “It really would have been quite simple to put a new shower tray in, but Mr Bateman said ‘why not have a wet-room floor’, it would be better, so he thought. I was swayed.”
She added: “I could have done it better myself.”
The prosecution allege Merriman and Bateman completed shoddy work at 10 Oxfordshire homes before King, who runs the Dolphin pub in Swindon, laundered the money by cashing cheques for them.
Bateman, of Oakham Close, Swindon, denies 11 counts of fraud, 10 of engaging in an unfair commercial practice, one of engaging in an aggressive commercial practice and five charges of transferring criminal property.
Merriman, 49, of Swansdowne Drive, Clifton, Nottinghamshire, denies seven frauds, seven counts of engaging in an unfair commercial practice, one charge of engaging in an aggressive commercial practice and five counts of transferring criminal property.
King, 43, denies six counts of converting criminal property.
The trial continues.
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