John Connors, along with his parents, a brother and brother-in-law, were convicted in 2012 of forcing destitute men to work for them for almost nothing. He has served his four-year jail sentence, but the Irish traveller family were told to cough up £2.25million of ill-gotten gains after their decades-long racket.
Now it has emerged that a house he had just built was almost demolished after a driver continuously reversed a truck into the property. The house, near the famous horse-racing town of Cheltenham, had been put up for sale not long after its completion.
Connors, pictured below, has already paid back £135,000 to the U.K. authorities, but still owes another £275,000 or faces going back to prison.
However, it emerged last week that the house worth £300,000 registered in his name had been deliberately smashed with a vehicle. Eyewitnesses told how a truck was repeatedly reversed into the front of the four-bedroom home, leaving it in danger of collapse.
No-one was in the house at the time and a lorry thought to have been used was found burned out in a field some distance away. The family have so far paid back £700,000 after assets and property were seized by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Family patriarch Billy still owes a hefty £1.3million, with £375,000 so far being seized by the authorities. The amounts paid back were recently released by Gloucestershire Police after a court imposed an order that the convicted family members pay up a total of £2.25million.
Assets recovered include a red convertible Mini, a Mercedes-Benz E350 and a Yacht-Master steel Rolex watch. During the lengthy trial in 2012, it emerged that the family beat their victims and forced them to work for as little as £5 a day.
They tricked about 37 homeless men, many of whom were alcoholics, into living with them on the promise of work, money and accommodation. They then made them carry out hard labour for little or no pay and some were found living in squalid caravans.
Family profits from laying driveways and patios funded a luxury lifestyle with exotic holidays, a fleet of flash cars and a number of properties worth millions. But just 12 of the victims were due to get £150,000 each in compensation because the anti-slavery law only came into force in 2010.
Connors is not the first member of the Irish traveller community to see one of his properties deliberately demolished.
Earlier this year the Sunday World revealed how a flat-bed truck was used to reverse several times into a red-brick chalet on a halting site in the U.K. The demolition job came as part of simmering feud between members of the ‘Barr’ Maughan clan and the Connors clan based in England.
Feuding travellers in Ireland have also targeted each other’s property in an effort to intimidate rivals.
Bare-knuckle fighter James Quinn-McDonagh, who is now living in the U.K., had his Dublin home razed to the ground by rivals.