Couple lose house of horror case

Relates to:
Date: 2004-02-27
Source: bbc.co.uk

A couple who discovered that their new home may contain body parts from a murder have lost their claim for damages from the sellers.

Alan and Susan Sykes found out about the house in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, while watching a documentary about a man who killed his adopted daughter.

The couple said they could no longer live in the £87,000 property and sold it at a loss of £8,000.

Their claim has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.  

James and Alison Taylor-Rose sold them the house in 2000 after they learnt about the property's past from a neighbour.

One of the judges hearing the case sympathised with the Sykes, but said the law as it stands puts no obligation on vendors to disclose a property's history. <!-- S IIMA --><!-- E IIMA -->

They ruled that Mr and Mrs Taylor-Rose had not been dishonest when they answered "no" to the question: "Is there any information which you think the buyer may have a right to know?"

The channel five programme that alerted Mr and Mrs Sykes to the history of their home was about Dr Samson Perera, a dental biologist at Leeds University, who murdered his adopted daughter, Nilanthie, in 1985.

Perera was given a life sentence and his wife Dammika, a teacher, was jailed for helping him cover up the crime.

A county court judge had already rejected the couple's case, saying the sellers were under no obligation to tell them about the history of the house in Stillwell Drive, in Sandal.

The county court heard how the Taylor-Roses were themselves unaware of the murder when they bought the property in 1998.

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