A LONG-RUNNING legal battle over a Torquay house left teetering on a cliff edge after a landslide has taken a new twist.
Now the retired police officer who bought Ridgmont House in 2010 says she is facing financial ruin.
Sue Diamond made a telephone bid of £154,500 for the house high on the cliffs above Oddicombe beach in February 2010, without viewing it or having a survey done.
But just eight days after the auction, a landslide sent tons of rock cascading onto the beach below and left the 1930s house just 50 yards from a drop into the sea.
Miss Diamond says the house is uninhabitable and worth only £3,500, and has been engaged in a legal battle with the builder who sold it to her, Matthew Taylor.
He in turn has been living in a caravan while the dispute has dragged on.
The auction particulars warned buyers that the six-bedroom house was severely structurally damaged and might be beyond economic repair, and a judge in 2010 ordered Miss Diamond to pay Mr Taylor what she owed.
Mr Taylor has a legal charge for the money, plus eight per cent interest annually, over Miss Diamond’s home in West London, which she says is worth more than £1million.
In December last year Miss Diamond was evicted from her home so it could be sold and Mr Taylor could be paid.
However, London’s High Court heard that she later went back there despite what she described as its ‘uninhabitable state’.
In March this year a judge gave Mr Taylor permission to market the London property for £650,000 – but that brought protests from Miss Diamond who said that was only half its true value.
Now Mr Justice Norris has given Miss Diamond the chance to get a better price for her home after she produced letters from estate agents saying £1.1million was ‘easily achievable’.
Miss Diamond, the judge said, suffered from dyslexia, impaired hearing and restricted mobility.
Explaining her decision to buy the house in Torquay, she said her Chiswick home had been flooded by burst pipes and she thought the ground floor of the seaside property would be ideal for a disabled person.