Manchester

Builder Michael McDonnell, jailed for 'dodgy' work

Michael McDonnell
Image caption An expert witness said McDonnell's work was the 'worst' he had ever seen in 30 years

A "dodgy builder" whose shoddy work left a family unable to live in their dream home, has been jailed.

Michael McDonnell, 36, was convicted of engaging in unfair commercial practices by a Lancashire Trading Standards prosecution at Preston Crown Court.

McDonnell, of Chorley Road, Standish, also admitted he falsely claimed membership of the Home Builders Federation.

An expert witness said it was the "worst" case he had ever seen

Image caption Angela Cartwright said she cannot live in her dream home

McDonnell not only carried out substandard work he conned his victims with fake claims that it had passed building inspections when none had taken place.

Three customers, including the mother of Wigan Rugby League legend Shaun Edwards, paid out more than £200,000, said Lancashire Trading Standards.

Angela Cartwright, 50, from Wrightington, Lancashire, said her husband invested his pension and the couple ploughed their life savings into the building work carried out by McDonnell.

"This is not just a dodgy builder - he grabs the money, leaves you with a mess and your dreams shattered," said Mrs Cartwright.

Image caption Nick McNamara said McDonnell made 'lavish and extravagant' claims about his business

Ms Cartwright said their home in High Moor Lane was condemned by a surveyor after he saw McDonnell's work.

"There's no damp proof course, the walls are built with a brick that doesn't hold the weight of the roof, basically the roof, the walls and the floor have to be taken down so we will not be able to live here," she said.

Nick McNamara, of Lancashire Trading Standards, said McDonnell made "lavish and extravagant claims" about his business on a "slick and convincing website".

He said he was "frankly horrified when I saw the photographs" of the Cartwright home.

Expert witness and building engineer Don Waterworth, added: "I think this is the worst I've seen in 30 years of being a surveyor and expert witness simply because there's nothing that can be saved."

He said the Cartwrights, who spent more than £100,000 on the project in September 2015, had been the victims of a "despicable crime".

Image caption A trading standards officer said he was 'horrified' when he saw photos of the building work

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