Dad denies robbing landlord in rent dispute

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A dad stormed into a housing office and robbed £1,200 from his daughter’s landlord, a court has heard.

Karl Tonge , 41, denies robbing Tony Chaya in an alleged incident in the offices of Cedartree Housing on Friargate, Preston, on October 9 last year.

Preston Crown Court heard Tonge’s daughter had to pay an instalment of £1,200 for her student accommodation after signing a lease agreement - despite being unable to continue her university course.

Prosecuting, Roger Brown said: “She signed a tenancy agreement which the Crown says was valid in law and put her under an obligation to pay the rent. It was agreed she would be responsible for paying £1,200 in the first quarter.

“Unfortunately, she was unable to attend the university and she went to Mr Chaya and asked if there was any possibility of not having to pay the rent, and he took the view by the time she told him this, that other people had made accommodation arrangements and he was going to lose the rent he was entitled to.

“She made the payment of the first instalment in the rent. You can imagine she wasn’t too happy about that. On the other hand Mr Chaya might not be too happy, he was entitled in law to that money.

“The defendant didn’t take that view at all and on October 9 he went to the Cedar Tree Houses office on Friargate and there, we say, he confronted Mr Chaya.

“The Crown say first of all there was physical force used against Mr Chaya by the defendant.

“He threatened to damage a computer in the shop and Mr Chaya was in the state where he felt he had no alternative but to give the defendant the money and he asked a Mr Andrew Yates to go and get some cash, and that was handed over. The Crown say but for that threat, that taking hold of him, he would not have handed over that money.”

The court heard in a police interview, Tonge said he had been in the offices but said the money had been handed over voluntarily.

(Proceeding)