A bankrupt businessman who demolished his £500,000 former home with a JCB rather than face eviction has been told he faces jail.
Property developer Christopher McGowan, 50, hired the mechanical digger before going on a half-hour rampage inside the plush six-acre property.
He “ripped the guts out” of the farm – stripping its fixtures and fittings and smashing through ground floor walls, doors, kitchen and bathroom units.
McGowan carried out the manic wrecking spree to “punish” the new owners who were set to kick him out after he went bust, Truro Crown Court heard.
He denied two counts of criminal damage but jurors found him guilty and told he will be jailed when sentenced at a later date.
Judge Christopher Harvey Clark told him: “You ripped the guts out of this property. It’s very likely that I will impose a significant sentence of imprisonment.”
Philip Lee, prosecuting, said McGowan had been declared bankrupt in 2009 and was in negative equity with debts of more than half a million pounds.
He was setting up a £1million deal with Wycliffe Estates Ltd, managed by Christopher Taylour, but it fell through when he failed to disclose his bankruptcy.
It then emerged that he did not hold the legal title to Silver Bow Farm at Greenbottom, near Truro, Cornwall, and was due to be evicted in September 2010.
Eventually Mr Taylour’s mother Janet Taylour bought the property for £470,000 in February 2011 from McGowan’s mortgage lenders.
He was allowed to remain living there but could not pay his rent and an appeal against an eviction order failed in July 2012.
Mr Lee said the following month McGowan hired the JCB from a nearby construction firm and returned it within a hour.
He told the court: “On August 16 he hired a digger and returned it within 40 minutes. The nature and extent of the damage is such that it can only have been done deliberately.
“The defendant has the motive and the inclination to punish the Taylours. He must have been responsible for the damage. There is another reasonable explanation.”
Police said the extent of the damage meant the house would probably have to be demolished.
McGowan, now of Chacewater, Cornwall, will be sentenced next month.