William Davenport was jailed for six years last Wednesday after fraudulently securing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of finance to buy the former home of Sir Anthony Eden, Windlestone Hall in Co Durham. He admitted a series of mortgage frauds against Barclays Bank. A serial liar and bankrupt he had numerous false identities. A scam artist, he and his American wife posed as a wealthy couple so they could buy other stately homes in the UK.
In 2011, Davenport approached the owners of Windlestone Hall, saying he was interested in purchasing the property, but all his wealth was outside the country and he didn’t want to be liable for taxes. A classic Nigerian scam. He offered to buy the property for £241,000, however this money actually came from a fraudulent mortgage application from Barclays bank. This was obtained under a false name, reference and accounts
So why is this case of fraud politically significant?
Windlestone Hall was owned by Labour controlled Durham County Council.
Durham County Council offered to sell the property to Mr Davenport for £241,000 without any open auction or tendering.
The council had previously agreed with a developer five years ago it was worth 2.3 million pounds.
Mr Davenport wanted planning permission to build a gated estate. Something that would have added millions to the value of the land and Durham County Council could have awarded to themselves before it was sold.
The proof of income he provided to obtain a mortgage came from using a £25,000 renovation grant provided by Durham County Council.
Unfortunately for someone Barclays found out. The building has now been repossessed by Barclays Bank who have valued it at 1.5 million.
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Owen “Hislop” Jones