[Hpn] Squatters remain Defiant

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Wed, 21 Jul 2004 19:10:43 -0400


Squatters Remain Defiant
www.Scotsman.com

Wed 21 Jul 2004



Squatters Remain Defiant

By Helen Morgan and Lucy Rodgers, PA News


A family of squatters who took over the Georgian home of an elderly widow
remained inside tonight despite threats of legal action and a visit from
housing officials.

Claire Simpkins, 30, her boyfriend Chris Davis, 33, and their six-year-old
son remained defiant at the empty house of 89-year-old Iris Davies who
suffers from major lung and heart problems and has moved into a care home.

The squatters have changed the locks and have pinned a message to the front
door claiming their rights under Section Six.

The note refers to the Criminal Justice Act 1977 which bars people from
gaining access to property, including their own, by using violence or
threats of violence.

This is now our home, the message reads. ‚?oThere is at least one person in
the building at any time. DO NOT attempt to enter.

After a failed attempt to reason with the squatters today, Mrs Davies's
nephew Paul Hamnett, 42, said he would be launching civil action against
them tomorrow.

An eviction order will be served by his solicitors which will cost him more
than £1,000.

Mr Hamnett, who works in the care industry and visited his aunts home with
his girlfriend Alison Gibbins, shouted to the resident family that he was
the rightful owner of the house in Ferndale Road, Bath.

But the defiant response from a first-floor window was: What about it.

He said he needed to sell the ¬£195,000 house to fund Mrs Davies‚?Ts stay in
care but the sale of the home she lived in for 50 years was put in jeopardy
when the squatters moved in last Thursday.

Now he wants them to do the honourable thing and quit.

Mr Hamnett said it was so frustrating that they walked through an open door
at the back of the house, implying that they did not break in and means no
criminal action can be taken.

He said that his aunt was very ill with vascular fibrosis, a thickening of
the arteries, and requires constant attention, although she was not aware of
the problems going on with her property.

Two housing officers from Bath and North East Somerset Council also visited
the property to discuss accommodation issues with the couple in a bid to
resolve the dispute.

A council spokesman said it had intervened because of the exceptional
circumstances of the case.

He added that officers were hopeful the couple would arrange another
appointment to discuss their future housing options in more detail.

Earlier today the squatters shouted through a window that all they wanted
was a place with a garden for their child.

Mr Davis added the family would consider accommodation offered by the
council if it was in Bath and had outdoor space.


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