A ROGUE builder conned vulnerable Bolton homeowners out of thousands of pounds – leaving ‘soul destroying’ results.

One victim is telling her devastating story, saying ‘cannot trust anyone’ after the ordeal.

Stuart Magrath swindled £50,000 from 14 homeowners across the North West, targeting pensioners with aggressive sales tactics to get victims to agree to unnecessary work.

Among his victims was a Westhoughton resident who paid £1,500 for home and roof repairs that never happened.

Gillian Hodkinson, 62, described how Magrath knocked on her door on 12 occasions before she finally relented in December 2016.

She said: “I ended up having a breakdown because of it all. He told me they had done work on other people’s houses on my street, I went and had a look, I thought it looked like he had done a good job.”

Mrs Hodkinson paid a £1,500 deposit for work on the roof and house, but when months passed and still no work was being done, she began to suspect the worst.

She said: “I paid all that money just before Christmas, but when I tried to arrange the work, they kept saying they couldn’t do this day or that. It was February before they got back to me.

“Then they said they wouldn’t start work until I had paid £600 more, but they still hadn’t delivered any equipment so I refused.”

After Mrs Hodkinson demanded a refund, Magrath started to make drunken and abusive phone calls to her in the early hours of the morning: “He called me at 4am, drunk as a skunk, effing and jeffing, telling me that I had cost him money but how could I have when I gave him my deposit?”

After more than a year of repeatedly calling the fraudster to get her money back, Mrs Hodkinson reported him to Trading Standards and it was revealed that Magrath had more victims.

The Westhoughton resident has been left devastated, saying: “I feel like I have been violated. It’s ruined my trust in people — I truly don’t trust anyone now.

“I’m too scared to even answer my phone to anyone. It’s soul destroying.”

Mrs Hodkinson had lost her husband just a few years earlier and watches her money carefully.

The Sainsbury’s cafe worker, who still has not got her money back, said: “I’m on minimum wage, I don’t have the money to waste.

“I just can’t believe that it happened to me.”

The 39-year-old offender from Wigan, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court earlier this month where he pleaded guilty to running a business for a fraudulent purpose.

Together with his co-accused William Greenall, Magrath operated SB Building Services between May 2016 and April 2018.

Jailing Magrath for three years, Judge Stuart Driver QC described how his crimes had harmed his vulnerable victims both financially and emotionally.

Greenall, 60, of St Helens, who carried out the building works, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 140 hours unpaid community work.

But Mrs Hodkinson feels they are not being punished enough for their crimes. She said: “I don’t think it’s enough time. I want my money back and I want compensation for his abuse. He’ll probably do it again.”