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Broke builder James Patrick of Oaks Construction Kent Ltd leaves Tonbridge home in ruins

A broke builder left a family home in “ruins” when he pocketed £40,000 to build an extension which he couldn’t finish because he ran out of money.

Riki Spencer, of Tonbridge, says his family were left virtually homeless by a builder who ran out of cash midway through a major house renovation they paid him to do.

Riki Spencer. 36, wife Emma, 35, with Bella, three, and Max, one
Riki Spencer. 36, wife Emma, 35, with Bella, three, and Max, one

The 36-year-old dad-of-two says he was left penniless when the owner of Oaks Construction Kent Ltd, James Patrick, was hired to build a ground floor extension at his home.

The builder demolished part of the home and dug up the Spencer’s garden, before he hit money problems and was forced to walk away leaving the half finished house.

Patrick admits he “messed up” but says he had no option but to walk away and leave other builders to finish building the extension.

Project manager, Riki noticed materials not turning up on time.

He says he confronted Mr Patrick in April 2018 when the project - expected to cost £37,000 - slipped way behind schedule, after they’d already paid Patrick £40,000.

How builder James Patrick left the Spencer family's ground floor extension after he went broke
How builder James Patrick left the Spencer family's ground floor extension after he went broke
How builder James Patrick left the Spencer family's ground floor extension after he went broke
How builder James Patrick left the Spencer family's ground floor extension after he went broke

Riki gave him an ultimatum - stay on to finish the job in time for the birth of their baby in July, or walk away and let Riki pay Mr Patrick’s sub-contractors directly to finish the job.

Riki and Emma, 35, ended up taking Patrick to the high court claiming compensation and despite being awarded £31,000, are yet to receive a penny from the broke builder.

Mr Patrick said: “That year we had several jobs on and unfortunately we were still owed £6,000 by someone else. That put us on the back foot.

“I tried to do everything I could but things got a bit sticky. I was asked to leave Ricky and Emma’s.

“I had to walk away otherwise the work wouldn’t get done at all.

James Patrick leaving the property
James Patrick leaving the property
The completed extension
The completed extension

“My sub contractors finished the work for Riki and Emma.

“If I had the money from the previous client I would have been able to finish the work. But it worked out that when I was asked to finish the job, I had no money.”

Mr Patrick says he “holds his hands up” and admits he was in the wrong, adding: “I messed up. I know things could have been done differently.

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