A ‘BUILDER from hell’ who conned a single mum out of almost £28,000 has been sent to prison for two years.
Adrian Barber, 41, of School Road, Hockley Heath fleeced Mary Silverman out of the cash over a period of four months from November 2007 to March 2008 after he agreed to renovate her mother’s house in order to rent it out.
Mrs Silverman, who lives in Lighthorne Road, had worked on an ad hoc basis undertaking secretarial duties for Barber in his landscape gardening business some years earlier. So when he then took on building jobs, she trusted him to complete the works he said were necessary.
But the conman instead pocketed the cash and told Mrs Silverman, who admitted the fraudster had ‘baffled her with science,’ that renovations including damp-proofing, underpinning and drainage had been carried out.
Prosecuting, Mr Justin Hugheston-Roberts told Leamington Justice Centre: “Some of the work was plainly required but this was a claim for work not done and there has been physical, and emotional consequences for Mrs Silverman.”
Defending, Mr Nicholas Cole said of Barber: “He lives with his mother who is 82 and he is her carer; he has had problems with depression and has become an isolated individual.
“To Mrs Silverman he is the ‘builder from hell’ and she is clearly a victim.”
The judge, Mr Recorder Potter, added: “The long lasting stress has had a catastrophic effect on Mrs Silverman’s self regard; she feels she was taken for a fool.
“You exploited her vulnerability.”
Speaking to the Solihull News after the sentencing, Mrs Silverman said: “I am pleased that this case has now ended and that justice has been done.
“It has been a very difficult time for me and now the matter has been concluded I can move forward and look positively towards the future.
“I would like to thank both the legal team and Solihull Council trading standards for all their help.”