Letchworth hoarder to be evicted from flat after more than 50 years

Wilf James in his home

Wilf James in his home - Credit: Archant

A self-confessed hoarder who tried in vain to clean up his act will be evicted from the flat where he has lived for more than 50 years, a judge has ruled.

Wilf James appeared before Stevenage District Court on Friday to hear whether an order that suspended his eviction from his flat in Jarden, Letchworth, remained in place.

The 78-year-old’s landlord, North Hertfordshire Homes, applied for his eviction because of the fire risk presented by his collecting and his aggressive behaviour towards its staff.

Despite him clearing the majority of the rubbish out of his flat last month it said his behaviour made the continuation of his tenancy impossible.

Representing the housing association, barrister Christopher Chambers, said: “It is not just a problem of hoarding but the threatening and aggressive behaviour of Mr James to our staff.

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“He has posted numerous statements on his website in which he threatened to kill our staff and employees from social services. He has also said he can understand why people go on shooting sprees.

“We find it impossible to manage his or other residents tenancy in the block because of these threats.

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“Whenever he is there our housing officer doesn’t believe she can perform her job properly.”

In response Mr James accused his landlord of lying and directing a fire officer to “deliberately” find faults in his electrical system.

The former RAF radio apprentice admits his hoarding became a problem after his partner of 31 years, Jacqui Surtees, died from breast cancer in February 2005 but denied ever threatening anybody.

He said: “I am here because a lot of lies have been said against me by North Hertfordshire Homes.

“All these nasty things said are a reaction against me after what happened on July 25 last year when four people came into my flat and demanded to see my electrical system. They were sent there to deliberately find fault but there is nothing wrong with the system.

“I want them to be brought before the Director of Public Prosecutions to answer for this.”

District judge Falvey said: “I cannot but feel sympathy for his situation but it is clearly self inflicted. My order is that the application to suspend the warrant is dismissed.”

Mr James’ appeal against the decision was rejected.

His eviction will take place within the next few weeks.

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