Lender sent 'thug' to frighten me, says woman


A WOMAN who lost her house at the High Court yesterday told the judge she was “verbally threatened” by an “extremely aggressive and hostile” representative of the lender.

The woman told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that she rang the lender, Nua Mortgages Ltd, in January 2009 to explain the financial difficulties in which she and her husband found themselves.

She was told there was no problem and they would sort it out. But instead the lender sent “a thug to frighten and intimidate a woman”, she said.

At a meeting in April 2009 at their property in Kilkenny, she was verbally abused and threatened by a Nua representative, she added.

Her husband was not present and the meeting was “extremely aggressive and hostile from the outset”.

The man threatened her with jail and told her she had no way out of the situation.

He backed her into a corner, she said, and her own solicitor had to physically push him off the property “he was so aggressive”.

The woman told Ms Justice Dunne that she and her husband knew they owed the money and had sleepless nights about it.

They accepted they would lose their home. But if “the likes of Nua” were allowed to threaten people “and make their lives miserable, when they are miserable already”, then there was “no law in the country”, the woman said.

A letter filed in court documents and written by the couple’s then solicitor, William Clarke of Clarke Jeffers Co, also recounted the meeting.

Mr Clarke said the lender’s representative used “abusive language and obscene profanities”, was physically threatening and he was considering reporting the incident to gardaí.

“I have never witnessed anything like I witnessed today nor been subjected in a professional capacity to anything like it,” he said.

Counsel for the lender said the couple had borrowed €192,000 in October 2007 to refurbish their house in Kilkenny, which was uninhabitable.

They were living in rented accommodation while the work was being carried out, but once it began the couple discovered there were more problems with the property.

They also struggled with having to pay the mortgage and rent and were refused an additional loan to complete the refurbishment. They both subsequently lost their jobs and their arrears stood at €48,000.

He said the representative who attended the meeting in April 2009 said it had been “serious and forthright”, but “at all times he had acted correctly and professionally”.

Ms Justice Dunne told the couple she would grant the order for possession “to bring to an end what has been an unhappy saga for both of you”.

She said she could not decide on the truth of what had happened at the meeting without taking oral evidence, but she would “strongly criticise the conduct”, if it had occurred.

Asked for costs by counsel for the lender, the judge said in “the normal course of events” she would grant costs, but some allegations had been made “that if true are very worrying”. She noted the solicitor’s letter.

“Having regard to the overall situation and the way it has been met, I’m not making an order for costs,” she said.

Four other orders for possession were granted at the High Court yesterday including two to Stepstone Mortgage Funding Ltd and one each to EBS and Start Mortgages Ltd.