Tom Crawford eviction verdict delayed over 'disorder' fears

Tom Crawford supporters
Image caption More than 150 gathered outside the court to support Mr Crawford and chanted "do your job"

A judge has said he will deliver his verdict in a long-running eviction battle via e-mail due to fears the judgement would spark disorder.

Tom Crawford has been in a dispute with Bradford & Bingley, who claim he owes £43,000 in mortgage payments.

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside Nottingham County Court, where Judge Nigel Godsmark was due to rule on an appeal against an earlier decision.

But he reserved his judgement after suspending the hearing twice.

Judge Godsmark said commotion outside the court meant proceedings could not continue.

"What is happening out there is an attempt to disrupt the process," he told the court.

He said he refused to conclude "if there's the risk of serious public disorder."

Image caption Tom Crawford said the last three years had been "horrendous" for him and his wife

The wrangle between Mr Crawford and Bradford & Bingley began in 2012.

Mr Crawford, who has been treated for cancer, claims he has paid off the endowment mortgage he took out in 1988 and the terms of his mortgage were changed without his knowledge.

Last year, a court ruled in favour of a debt recovery firm which took on the outstanding balance, and Mr Crawford was told to pay or lose his home.

Support for Mr Crawford came from across the country after a Facebook group was set up.

Image caption In January, supporters blocked an eviction attempt by bailiffs

In January, more than 250 people blocked bailiffs from evicting him and wife Sue from their home.

Mr Crawford, of Fearn Chase, Nottingham said the public support he had received over his eviction appeal had been "fantastic".

"If it wasn't for these people, they would have taken our home," said the 64-year-old.

"This support is what everyone should get. There's a lot of homes taken from people who don't owe any money and they are railroaded by the banks."

As proceedings resumed, Nicole Sandells, for Bradford & Bingley said: "This is not a case where the bank is asked to turn it into a repayment mortgage and has failed to do so.

"The bank offered to amend this to repayment if requested and that was not accepted."

Ms Sandells said permission for an appeal against the eviction order should not be granted and the repossession could still go ahead.

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