Northern Ireland

Bankrupt man blamed 'bucket list' for money trouble

High Court in Belfast

A cancer patient who spent the proceeds of his house sale and racked up major credit card debts pursuing his "bucket list" faces bankruptcy restrictions.

Ian Roderick Gibson owed about £77,000 to credit card firms by June 2011.

While he received £23,000 from the sale of his house in Belfast two years earlier, none of that went to his creditors, the High Court was told.

He said: "I became obsessed with doing the things I wanted to do before I died, as I believed I was dying."

Mr Gibson was adjudicated bankrupt on his own petition back in 2011 and would have been discharged a year later in normal circumstances.

However, the official receiver sought a further Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (BRO) against him due to alleged culpable misconduct in his financial affairs.


Mr Gibson admitted to having debt problems for up to 15 years before his bankruptcy petition.

Asked the reasons for not having the funds to pay what he owed, he referenced The Bucket List, a 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill men going on a road trip to complete unfulfilled wishes.

"I was using one credit card to pay off another for a long time, with the debt increasing all the time," he said.

"I'm afraid I felt a bit sorry for myself when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and couldn't get the film The Bucket List out of my mind, so I spent money from the sale of my house, rather foolishly I think.

"I also suffer from depression which I've had for many years. Unfortunately I had a heart attack last September which has not helped at all. I think I need a new start."

According to a report from his doctor, the cancer was diagnosed at an early stage and successfully treated - subject to regular reviews - in 2007.

Finding nothing in the GP's report to account for Mr Gibson's apparent belief about his health and future, the judge said his illness carried little weight in terms of the conduct under scrutiny.

She pointed out that he had been financially irresponsible prior to his diagnosis.

"More importantly, the extravagant dissipation of the £23,000 began in July 2009 - two years after his illness," she said.

She imposed a seven-year order that, taking into account an interim period already served, will run until June 2019.

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