West Berkshire Council

Rogue Builder Receives Custodial Sentence

John Monaighan of Beresford Avenue, Slough, Berkshire was sentenced at Reading Crown Court to an immediate 18 month custodial sentence on 14 February after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to seven offences of unfair trading contrary to sections 3 and 8 of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

STOCK IMAGE: Scales of justice

Issued on: 21 February 2018.

The convictions followed a complex investigation conducted by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service working with the PPP Joint Case Management Unit and West Berkshire Legal Services. The investigation which was commenced following the receipt of a complaint from a Newbury resident revealed a number of further victims who Mr Monaighan had done work for in the period 1 May 2015 and 10 May 2017 at seven homes across the south east leaving work conducted of a poor standard, which contravened the requirements of professional diligence. Furthermore in some instances the work was so substandard that it posed a safety risk to homeowners.

Homeowners in Newbury received an electric shock on their first use of their newly refurbished bathroom after the installation of an electric shower. The completed work was confirmed to be in breach of building regulations with no application made to Building Control, as required, prior to commencing work. The bathroom was left in a potentially very dangerous state with the homeowners exposed to risks of fire and electric shock. Monaighan received 18 months imprisonment for poor workmanship at this property.

Homeowners in Walton-on-Thames instructed Monaighan, then trading as Smart Bathrooms, to update their bathroom. Only 75% of the work was completed and Monaighan damaged the fittings supplied by the homeowners. The new shower was fitted incorrectly and did not provide a proper flow of water. Monaighan left the job unexpectedly posting the keys through the letter box after removing his tools, leaving electrical wires exposed and all the waste. Monaighan was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment for this offence.

Homeowners in Hillingdon instructed Monaighan to address condensation issues and repair a leak in their bathroom. Monaighan was then trading as Home Counties Plumbing. After the deposit was paid and works started, Monaighan decided not to replace the floor which was an integral part of the original instruction. A leak then developed behind the new shower he fitted. After receiving full payment Monaighan failed to complete the work or address the leak behind the shower. Monaighan was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for his poor workmanship.

Homeowners in Reading wanted their bathroom and wooden flooring updated. In doing so he damaged the new bathtub he fitted and ended up walking off the job, leaving it unfinished. Monaighan was sentenced to 7 months imprisonment for this offence.

A homeowner in Burnham employed Monaighan, who was then trading as Your Plumber. After receiving part payment, Monaighan left the job unfinished with sewerage pipes unsealed. Monaighan was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment.

A homeowner in Slough employed Monaighan, trading as Splash Plumbing to update her bathroom. After providing an estimate of 5 days to complete the work, after 10 days, and after receiving full payment, failed to attend to complete snagging works. A leak was later found with the newly installed shower, causing damage to the homeowners ceiling causing it to collapse. Monaighan was sentenced to 4 ½ months imprisonment as a result.

A homeowner in Slough paid £1620 for work at his property that were left unfinished by Monaighan who received 4 ½ months imprisonment as a result.

Monaighan was paid a total of £15,595 for work that he either failed to finish or left in a poor state of finish. Monaighan, who was trading under the names of Home Counties Plumbing; Splash Plumbers and  Splash Plumbing.

In addition to the 18 months sentence Monaighan was ordered to pay £500 over in compensation - the sum being the total amount of in his account.

Commenting on the sentence, Councillor Norman Jorgenson (Wokingham Borough), Chair of the Joint Public Protection Committee, said; 'This kind of offending that leaves people with damaged property, out of pocket or risks their health and well-being is completely unacceptable. This was reflected in the sentencing which I hope sends a clear message to would be perpetrators. The Partnership will always investigate matters of this nature and where appropriate legal action will follow.'  

Any Bracknell, West Berkshire or Wokingham resident that has concerns about activity of this nature or any other trading standards or public protection  matter should contact Trading Standards.