Man tells court Tory home knocked for £1,000

 

A DOCUMENTARIST who bought a 150-year-old house on an island off the northwest coast of Donegal heard yesterday how a hotelier had asked a contractor to knock down his six-bedroom house for £1,000.

The High Court was sitting in Letterkenny for the second day of a civil case brought by Co Down man Neville Presho against hotelier Patrick Doohan.

During the first day of evidence the court heard how Mr Presho had broken down in tears on his return to Tory island, after eight years, to find a car park and septic tank on the spot where his house once stood.

Yesterday, Dr John Hailey, a senior doctor in charge of psychiatry at Letterkenny General Hospital, told the court Mr Presho had been discharged from care last week. When Mr Presho came into his care he was of the opinion that he was acutely ill.

Earlier, the court had heard that after returning to Tory and finding his house was gone, Mr Presho began to drink large amounts of alcohol.

He had been repeatedly admitted to psychiatric hospitals and had been diagnosed with bipolar disease.

Mr Presho bought the house on Tory in 1982 from a local couple. Following the purchase he moved to New Zealand. Builders subsequently moved into the house. They had been given a key by a local woman. Mr Presho was not aware they were staying in it.

The builders subsequently moved to the youth hostel on Tory on January 13th, 1993, and the house went on fire the following night, the court heard.

The gables of the house had remained standing but the walls of the house had tumbled from January to October 1993.

In May 1994 the hotel on Tory was completed, and by July 1994 Mr Presho returned to the island to see a car park in the space where his house had once stood.

In his evidence, contractor John McGinty said Mr Doohan had asked him to knock the house down after the fire. The house stood across the road from the hotel on the shorefront.

Mr McGinty said: “He offered me £1,000 to knock it down.” Mr McGinty said he would do it after he was secure in the knowledge of the ownership of the hotel.

The case continues today at the High Court sitting in Letterkenny.