Gurney Davey, 67, suffered the shock of his life when the local council ordered that the house he had built with his recently deceased wife be demolished, on pain of imprisonment.
The news was a blow to the Briton, who now lives on the property in a van.
“At first I was upset, my blood pressure was very high, then I
lost my wife, ”Davey told Olive Press this week.
Speaking halfway through Friday’s demolition which cost him € 1,600, he
added that it actually came as “a kind of relief”.
Davey was forced to hire an excavator to demolish his house, which he had built for € 150,000.
The demolition puts an end to a legal saga that began in 2004.
“We thought we did everything right. We got legal advice and went
through a lawyer in order to obtain permission to build the house ”, Davey
“Diana fought breast cancer for six years before bowel cancer – I am
of course the stress caused it.
Manzanares law firm told the Suffolk-born couple that they had a license for an “almacen” – storeroom in English – that would allow them to build the bungalow of their dreams in Tolox, Andalusia, Spain.
But he was later told it was one of 350 houses illegally allowed to be built by former corrupt mayor Juan Vera, who landed in jail.
He was told he had six months to demolish it or risk jail time – news that came shortly after his wife’s death.
“But luckily, it’s now over,” he explained. “It has been going on since
it’s been so long since I’ve finally figured out what needs to be done.
Having it demolished was actually a relief.
Davey now lives in a converted van that he keeps on the property and shares with his five dogs.
“This land is my home, it is my life and these dogs are all I have
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He still has to know if he faces jail.
This is not the first time that British expats have seen their homes demolished
in Andalusia, with the Prior, in Almeria, the most famous victims.
They still live in the garage of their house today, more than 10 years since
the house was demolished in Vera.