Stoke & Staffordshire

Locks changed as tenant forced out of Rugeley home

Kara Cox
Image caption Kara Cox said she felt 'violated' while the action was being taken against her

A tenant had her bedroom door removed and her electricity and heating cut off as attempts were made to illegally evict her.

Kara Cox was left unable to get into her flat in Rugeley, Staffordshire, to feed her pet rabbit, a court heard.

Nigel Whorton, Jonathan Williams, and Rebecca Brayshaw, were convicted of unlawful eviction after a trial at Cannock Magistrates' Court.

They were each given suspended prison sentences on Monday.

Miss Cox, 21, was living in the former Natwest bank in Market Square, which had been turned into a house of multiple occupancy owned by Whorton, 57, of Footherley, Shenstone.

In the weeks leading up to October 2018 she had fallen behind on payments.

Image caption The bedroom door of Miss Cox's flat was removed

She received a verbal warning of eviction in a phone call from property manager Williams, 39, of Blackberry Lane, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, the court heard, but she made it clear he would have to go through a proper course of action to begin eviction proceedings.

Over a course of ten days the trio began a course of action to get her to leave including changing a door code so she could no longer get into her flat.

Brayshaw, 36, of Eccleshall, Staffordshire, who is in a relationship with Whorton, had effected the locking out when she had visited the property in her role as an independent painting contractor.

Miss Cox contacted Cannock Chase District Council, who brought the prosecution, and were able to provide her with emergency accommodation.

Image caption Nigel Whorton told the court he regrets what happened to Miss Cox

Miss Cox said their actions left her feeling violated and as if she was a criminal

"Every time I had to go to work somebody had to stay in the flat just in case they did it again," she said.

Mr Williams resigned as the manager of the property following the council's investigation.

Brayshaw told the court she went there to decorate and believed the room was vacant, while Whorton told the court he regrets what happened.

Whorton and Williams were also convicted of a charge of acts likely to lead to harassment and were given 16-week jail terms suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

Brayshaw was jailed for eight weeks suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

They must pay £1,000 compensation each and costs between them of £9,222.

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