A judge has ordered a man to pay €25,000 after he illegally trespassed and lived in the house of a dead clergyman.
Daniel Greene moved himself and his family into the home of the late Reverend Samuel Reede in Co Donegal in 2013.
The property had been put up for sale but Greene moved into the bungalow in Rooskey, Newtowncunningham and even changed the locks on the doors.
A friend of the late clergyman, who had been looking after the property, was told by solicitors that the house had been illegally entered.
But when Sylvia Allen-Hamilton called to the house, the man said it was his property and he refused to leave.
When she tried to have the electricity supply stopped from the house, she was told that the account had been somehow transferred into the name of Daniel Greene and could not be cut.
A court action was then taken against the man who, at that stage, was only know as John Doe as nobody knew his identity.
Gardai had been called to the home but Mr Greene was never present.
He eventually left the house in December, 2013 – a total of nine months after he had moved in.
Barrister for the brother of the late Rev Reede, Mr Charles John Reede, brought a case for damages against the illegal trespasser.
His barrister Fiona Crawford yesterday (Thurs) revealed how the home had been left in a state after Greene and his family fled overnight.
She revealed how a pest control company had to treat he house because of a rodent problem while food, clothing and other items were also left behind.
Other items of personal belongings had to be put into storage for the past 16 months at a cost of €100 per month, Buncrana Circuit Civil Court was told.
Judge Karen Fergus said it was obvious that Greene had made “a hasty exit” and asked if there was any chance of recouping the damages.
Barrister Fiona Crawford said there was some money on hold belonging to Greene with an address at 12 Riverside Court, Cumber, Co Down.
Judge Fergus ordered Greene to pay €25,000 in damages for trespass as well as €1,600 for the cost of storage and €400 for the cost f the pest control,and clean-up of the house.
She also ordered that all the personal belongings and other items left in the house be handed over to charity.