'Heartless' rogue trader 'did a runner' after being paid
‘Heartless’ rogue trader who was paid £4,250 to transform garden for double amputee boy, ten, ‘did a runner’ on holiday to Skegness with cash
- William Ashington, 10, struggles to tackle the slopes in his garden in Uttoxeter
- His parents saved up to pay a landscaper so he could play outside in the summer
- The married couple say they handed £4,250 to the alleged cowboy landscaper
A ‘heartless’ rogue trader conned a double amputee 10-year-old boy out of £4,250 then ‘did a runner’ with the cash intended to give him a garden for summer, his parents say.
William Ashington struggles to tackle the slopes in his garden in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, due to his prosthetic legs, so his parents Philomene and Craig saved up to pay a landscaper so he could play outside during the summer.
The married couple say they handed £3,900 to the alleged cowboy landscaper for materials, along with a further £350 for some raised flowerbeds so their son could grow vegetables.
Soon after handing over the substantial sum, Mr and Mrs Ashington, both 44, claim he fled with their money on holiday to Skegness – dashing the child’s hopes for outdoor play.
Clinical specialist Mrs Ashington branded the worker ‘the lowest of the low’ and says he knew he was ‘taking from a disabled child’.
But the family were overwhelmed as local dad Nick Harris rallied contractors so William, who was born with fibular hemimelia, wouldn’t be let down and setting up a GoFundMe page, which has already raised £1,000.
Mr Harris also says the ‘dodgy’ businessman had ‘done a runner to Skegness’ and even scammed other families – believed to have taken a total of £35,000 in deposits.
Staffordshire Police have now confirmed they are investigating. A spokesperson said: ‘Staffordshire Police is investigating a number of frauds in the Uttoxeter area. No arrests have been made.’
Little William Ashington struggles to tackle the slopes in his garden in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, due to his prosthetic legs, so his parents Philomene and Craig saved up to pay a landscaper so he could play outside during the summer
The married couple say they handed £3,900 to the alleged cowboy landscaper for materials, along with a further £350 for some raised flowerbeds so their son could grow vegetables (pictured: The family’s garden)
Pictured: The garden after local businesses descended on the Ashingtons’ home and transformed their previous plain new-build yard into an idyllic play area for William
Now, more than eight local businesses have descended on the Ashingtons’ home and transformed their previous plain new-build yard into an idyllic play area for William.
Philomene said: ‘We’d saved up quite a lot of money. We’re just a normal family. We were originally going to put it towards a sports wheelchair for William, and we gave him a choice.
‘We said ”we’ve got the money to put towards a sports wheelchair, or we can get the garden done really nicely so you can play in the summer”.
‘He said ”oh no Mummy, I’d love a really nice garden so I can play”. That’s what we decided to do.
‘We live in a new build so the garden isn’t great. They never are. William suggested we used his wheelchair money to get the garden nice and safe and secure.
‘We instructed this tradesman, a garden landscaper who we thought was fine, because he’d done work for others in the town.
‘Unbeknownst to us, we didn’t know he was a rogue tradesman and a conman to boot.
Despite William’s parents telling the self-employed scammer about his health challenges, they claim he disappeared without a trace a couple of weeks before he was due to start work.
Philomene said: ‘We took the hard decision to have his feet amputated when he was eight, because he would have to either have had that or the reconstructive surgery, which would mean numerous surgical interventions until he was a young adult.
William was born with fibular hemimelia
‘Even then there was only a small chance of it working and he would have possibly ended up with an amputation as an adult. We thought it’d be easier as a child – he’d adapt easier.
‘He’d already lost quite a lot of his childhood through pain and lack of mobility. He was restricted to a wheelchair for two years prior to his amputation.’
William received his prosthetic legs just over two years ago.
The tradesman, who knew the family’s reason for renovating the garden, asked for some money up front in April, which they ‘gladly gave him’ to buy materials, Mrs Ashington said.
She added: ‘He kept pushing for the money and he was obviously doing the same to other different families as well. A couple of weeks before the work was due to start, we started hearing a few rumblings on social media.
‘We started seeing things and Nick was also a victim of this person. Nick has a good standing in the community, he runs the football team and has lots of contacts. He’s professional and has his head screwed on.
‘It was brought to his attention that we’d also been scammed.’
After Nick learned of their story, he made it his mission to help them out.
Philomene said: ‘It was really heart-warming for us that someone like Nick has orchestrated everything. He’s got all these tradesmen involved, which is the positive side for us.
‘It’s been really overwhelming for us. We’ve been through a lot, but just we’re normal people and don’t take any charity.
‘We don’t like to ask for help because we get on and do things ourselves, so for us it’s overwhelming that these people want to help William and give us an amazing garden.
You can donate to William’s page here
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