Mortgage company seeks to prevent child rapist from getting insurance payout

Start Mortgages DAC claims the man owes it over €400,000 arising out of his failure to repay loans
Mortgage company seeks to prevent child rapist from getting insurance payout

High Court reporters

A mortgage company has secured a temporary High Court order allowing it to appoint a receiver over an estimated six-figure insurance payout to a convicted child rapist whose property burnt down.

The interim order was secured by Start Mortgages DAC, which claims that the man, who cannot be identified and who the High Court heard on Tuesday is currently in jail, owes it over €400,000 arising out of his failure to repay loans.

The court heard that while the exact figure of the payment is not known, it estimates that it will be approximately €125,000. Start says those funds should be paid to it in order to satisfy the man's alleged debt to it.

The man received a 12-year prison sentence from the Central Criminal Court in 2014 after he was found guilty by a jury of charges including the rape and sexual assault of his ex-partner's young daughter.

The abuse commenced when the victim was seven years old.

Mortgage

On Tuesday, Ms Justice Nuala Butler at the High Court heard that several years before being jailed the man obtained a mortgage with Start for over €265,000 to obtain a property in the southeast.

A year later, that property was destroyed following a fire.

The property was insured by Zurich Insurance, and because of the insurance policy it agreed to pay out over €222,000 for the reconstruction of the property. Zurich paid €85,000 to the man's then lawyers as a first instalment.

Start claimed the man informed it that those monies were being kept in a safe place until planning permission was obtained to allow his property to be reconstructed.

The property, Start claimed, was never rebuilt and planning permission for the reconstruction was never obtained.

Start claimed some of the monies which were paid out were used by the man for improper purposes. The company said following correspondence with the man, he informed the fund that €30,000 from the first instalment was paid by the man's former solicitors, without his consent, to clear arrears due on the mortgage.

Those monies, the court heard, should have been used to refurbish the property.

Letters of demand

Start said it issued letters of demand against the man. When the monies were not repaid, it obtained a High Court judgment against him, prior to his imprisonment.

There was a delay in executing that judgment due to the lengthy interactions between the parties, that lasted several years, and the intervention of the Covid-19 pandemic, Start claimed.

Start said it intended to seek a renewal of that judgment, which it had made all reasonable efforts to execute, and which was obtained over six years ago.

Start told the court that when interest is included the man currently owes it a sum of just over €402,000. Start also told the court that following his incarceration it appointed a receiver who sold the man's property, which it said was a derelict shell, for a sum of just over €33,000.

Start claimed the man is due to receive the balance of the insurance pay from Zurich. Start had hoped the insurer would pay the monies to it.

However, Start said Zurich's lawyers have indicated that the insurer is only prepared to pay the monies to the man's current solicitors.

Start had hoped that those monies would be kept in a holding account until the matter between the parties had been resolved. However, the man's current lawyers declined to do that.

Start claimed the man had no intention of honouring the terms of the mortgage, and it said it feared the monies due to be paid by Zurich may be dissipated unless a receiver is appointed over those funds.

It is not known exactly when those monies will be paid, however Start said it believed the payment will be made in the coming days, and wanted a receiver appointed over the payment.

That application was made on an ex-parte basis, before Ms Justice Butler. The judge said she was satisfied to appoint a receiver.

The judge said she was not satisfied at this stage of the proceedings to make any permanent orders in relation to the payment until the court had heard from the man's legal representatives.

The matter was adjourned to a date in July.

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