Conman sold off partner’s home without her knowing

Janette McVicar
Janette McVicar
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A SHOP assistant today told how her “Walter Mitty” partner had conned her out of £150,000 during their ten-year relationship and secretly sold her house while she was living there.

Janette McVicar, 53, only found out that scheming Alexander Currie had sold her Fernieside bungalow after phoning the mortgage company to find out how much she owed them.

Alexander Currie

Alexander Currie

Currie paid a look-alike £500 to pose as Ms McVicar to a firm of Edinburgh solicitors and sell the house to one of his friends to pay off £30,000 of debts.

Ms McVicar said her home in Fernieside Drive was still legally owned by Currie’s friend, adding that her former partner should be jailed over the elaborate fraud which netted him £80,200 from the sale.

Currie, 46, of Drumdryan Street in Tollcross, yesterday pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to a charge of forming a fraudulent scheme to obtain money between January and April last year.

Ms McVicar told the Evening News: “Alex had debts. I’m not sure if they were gambling debts or where they came from. That’s why he sold the house from under me.

The Fernieside Drive house

The Fernieside Drive house

“Alex is a conman. He’s good at manipulation and can be very believable. His lawyer phoned me the other day and told me ‘Alexander lives in fairyland’ and that’s about right. He’s a compulsive liar and a total Walter Mitty character.”

Currie hired the mystery woman, who was never traced, to pretend to be Ms McVicar and convinced lawyer Christopher Campbell, to allow the house to go on the market. Currie then persuaded a man called Gareth Davies to apply for a mortgage and buy the house. After receiving the cash, Currie paid off debts to a man called Mark Donoghue.

Ms McVicar estimated that Currie had taken £150,000 from her over the years, including the illegal sale of her £110,000 house, as well as from loans and credit cards.

She said: “I met Alex in 2000 when I was working at the bingo in Nicolson Street and he was a manager there.

“We were together for seven years, then he went over to Ireland to work in a bingo hall. But he was caught for a mortgage fraud over there and served three months in prison.

“I thought to myself ‘mistakes happen’, and he came back to live here. That was when I had to re-mortgage the house to get £49,000 to pay off his debts. But after he left the bingo in 2001 he never worked again.

“He later went off with another woman but she kicked him out and he had nowhere to live. I took him back because with the re-mortgage it seemed the only way to pay the money back.

“That’s when he had access to all my paperwork. My passport, the mortgage access numbers, utility bills, everything he needed to sell the house. I discovered last April that it had been sold.”

Ms McVicar said that Mark Donoghue was a friend of Currie’s who worked for Scottish Gas and was in his late 20s. Gareth Davies was another friend of Currie’s and worked as a scaffolder.

Ms McVicar, who works as a shop assistant at Boots, said: “Gareth Davies still legally owns my house. I’ve been told that I will get it back but it might take time. I’m hoping it will be later this year.

“Alex does not realise all the damage he has caused. I’ve been granted a decree in court that he owes me £51,000, but I’ve seen little of that and I don’t expect to get it back. I won’t be bothered if he goes to jail. In fact, he does deserve to be jailed. It’s wicked what he did and he’s put me through hell for ten years.”

Sheriff Paul Arthurson deferred sentence against Currie for reports, but warned him that he faced a prison term for “a very serious offence”.