Footballing 'King' to stand trial over property scam

Footballing 'King' to stand trial over property scam


A former Premier League player is charged with cashing cheques from victims of a criminal building scam in which shoddy and overpaid work was done on people’s homes, a court has heard.

Ex-England U21 defender Phil King allegedly cashed cheques made out to him, worth thousands of pounds, at the pub he runs in Swindon, The Dolphin Hotel.

King became a cult hero with many Aston Villa fans as a result of his famous winning penalty against Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup first round shootout in 1994, reported the Birmingham Post.

The scam was allegedly carried out by two contractors, Trevor Bateman, 54, and David Merriman, 49, who undertook building work across Oxfordshire that was said to be “poorly performed, overpriced or simply unnecessary” with clients who were often elderly women, Oxford Crown Court was told.

A surveyor who examined a number of the properties the defendants worked on found the householders had often paid well in excess of what the job was worth, the jury heard.

King, now 43, is charged with six counts of converting criminal property, while Merriman and Bateman, face 29 counts of fraud between them, engaging in an unfair commercial practice, transferring criminal property and engaging in unfair commercial practices that was aggressive.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Nigel Lickley QC, described how Merriman and Bateman’s victims parted with vast sums after agreeing to escalating amounts of work carried out by their building business, AS Contractors.

Their approach to business, Lickley said, was characterised by cold-calling customers; often beginning on a relatively small job before the work escalated into something more major; completing work to a poor standard or leaving it unfinished and overcharging clients, the Yorkshire Post reported.

"You can imagine the confusion of the elderly when they're being asked to hand over large sums of money and are unsure what it relates to." One elderly woman, who paid about £47,000 for a variety of jobs, was "to put it bluntly, fleeced of her money", jurors were told.

All three men deny the charges against them and the trial is expected to last four weeks.

The case continues.

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