Property tycoon, 64, who ruined the lives of four families by selling them luxury houseboats worth £3.5million they had no right to live in is jailed for 12 years

A property tycoon has been jailed for 12 years after he ruined the lives of four families by selling them luxury houseboats they had no right to live in.

Myck Djurberg, 64, bought the Hampton Riviera Boat Yard in Richmond in 2011 and built five exclusive floating properties.

But he did not get planning permission for them and sold them for £3.5m without residential mooring licences.

Djurberg had assured his clients they could live onboard but it was only when the purchasers moved in that they found they only had rights for leisure moorings and not residential.

He had not even paid the Environment Agency for the license.

Myck Djurberg, 64, was jailed for 12 years for the fraud as victims told of the harrowing impact of his deception
Djurberg bought the Hampton Riviera Boat Yard (file picture) in Richmond in 2011 and built a series of expensive houseboats

One buyer told the court she had lost £1.6m. An eye surgeon said he was so distracted by his ordeal that he feared botching an operation.

And another buyer said she wanted to kill herself and would shut her eyes driving down the motorway, Kingston Crown Court heard.

Djurberg was previously before the courts when he chased a tenant at the marina with a roofer’s tool shouting: ‘I’ll break your head.’

READ MORE: Millionaire houseboat tycoon, 60, who attacked tenant in row over fees faces losing his £3m Swiss Chalet in Surrey

Prosecutor Kate Bee KC said the families ‘who bought a houseboat from the defendant have suffered harm which reaches the threshold of serious detrimental effect’.

Before Djurberg was sentenced he heard several victim statements from people involved in the fraudulent scheme.

One read on behalf of Fiona Johnston described how Djurberg’s actions had caused her to feel suicidal.

‘The impact of this conscious and intentional fraud by Myck Djurberg has been devastating,’ she said.

‘We continue to suffer the effect of losing everything we have financially.

‘We can’t afford the life we had, we have raised money from car boots.

‘We took on tremendous debt of £140,000, this meant working six days a week and only taking a weeks holiday.

‘I had suicidal thoughts.

‘On two occasions I drove across the motorway and shut my eyes for ten seconds to see what would happen.

‘Maybe it was better that I die’.

Simon Keightley, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at the North Hampshire hospital in Basingstoke, told the court that his professional and personal life had been shattered.

‘What was once pictured by ourselves as a peaceful place for retirement because an increasing nightmare of antagonism.’

Mr Keightley described ‘constant demands for extra money’ and said that he was ‘out of pocket of approximately £500,000.

‘What was meant to be a fruitful and prosperous retirement has sadly not materialised.

The houseboat tycoon chased a tenant with a roofer’s tool shouting: ‘I’ll break your head’
Klaus Beversluis, 52 (pictured outside court), was embroiled in a row over the rental at the Hampton Riviera Boat Yard in Richmond

‘I wish I had never seen this man.

‘I was even anxious about my state of alertness during delicate eye surgery.

‘There is always the fear that he will track us down, and I am anxious he will retaliate either in the courts or some other physical manner’.

Jennifer Small said in her statement: ‘This fraud has robbed us of significant time and money to the value of £1.6 million.

‘It has tainted our lives and also the lives of our children. We have lost faith in the world and also our own judgement.

‘This has had a profound impact on all of our lives.’

David Maxwell Hattersley-Hoskinson’s victim statement referenced his having ‘incurred heavy financial costs over three years of civil proceedings.

‘We are both suffering psychologically, intimidating and false accusations have been generated via email by the accused. We have had and continue to have sleepless nights’.

Andrew Selby, defending Djurberg, said: ‘The reality is that although these individuals – and we’ve just heard powerful and emotional victim impact statements being delivered – whilst they paid sums of money for houseboats, they did receive houseboats.

‘The delay in bringing matters to trial have not been his fault, we’ve had Covid and no doubt a backlog of cases.

‘This has undoubtedly taken a toll on his victims but it has also taken a toll on him. He woke up on his 64th birthday in prison.

‘There are clearly underlying mental health issues which we submit go someway in mitigating the offences.’

Mr Selby asked the judge to ‘bear in mind’ that Djurberg is receiving treatment for skin cancer and also has prostate cancer.

Judge Martyn Barklem addressed Djurberg sternly during the sentencing: ‘As the jury held, the offending for which you are sentenced is in connection with the misrepresentations you made with regards to the purchase of four houseboats

‘Namely, that you had the ability to grant residential mooring licences.

‘You are plainly a complex, perhaps mercurial individual. You claim to have numerous degrees including an MBA and you say you can speak eleven languages.

‘It is evident you were able to persuade intelligent people in part through charm and in part through making representations which were entirely untrue.

‘You went from charm when seeking to sell to sheer aggression and nastiness whenever you were challenged.

‘Fiona Johnston and her partner lost her entire savings after purchasing their houseboat for £550,000 pounds.

‘They are now living in rented accommodation in their 60s with little probability of earning enough money to ever get back on the housing ladder.

Judge Barklem added that despite the victims receiving their houseboats, Djurberg was guilty of ‘classic frauds’.

‘There was a skilful evasion by you of queries regarding planning issues by deflection and outright lies.

‘The fact that you were able to so successfully pull the wool over the eyes of intelligent people speaks volumes.

‘The total sum of the fraud is over £3 million, your actions have caused a great deal of devastation for four couples together with the Johnston’s son and the Small’s two children, whose lives have been seriously affected.

‘There is an absolute lack of any remorse – far from it. There has been a continued harassment and blaming of the victims over the years.

‘Having had careful consideration to totality I consider that the total stance on four counts should be one of 12 years imprisonment’.

The victims cheered as the sentence was announced and one one victim attempted to take a photograph of Djurberg as he was led to the cells.

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