I'm not dishonest - that’s the claim by one member of a family gardening business accused of ripping off a vulnerable pensioner to the tune of £6,400 for work supposedly carried out at his home.
James Whitaker, known as Jimmy, was the final member of the trio to give evidence at Southampton Crown Court, accused of defrauding the 89-year-old man whose home they had allegedly visited 13 times between July and December 2011.
He is on trial with his brother John Whitaker and uncle Robert Whitaker, known as Bill, and described them as “a bunch of travelling boys” who cold call residents in the hope of securing gardening and tree work.
James, 40, told jurors how he ran Chandler’s Ford Tree and Landscape Services but would often use his uncle Robert to assist with heavy work.
He told the court how he had no business records and had never filed tax returns, adding: “I don’t think I earn enough to pay tax.”
He denied accusations from the prosecution that he had “changed his story significantly” and that he was not honest with police following his arrest in December 2011.
James also revealed that he and brother John were no longer on speaking terms, while relations with his uncle were strained.
Robert Whitaker, 47, formerly of Ennell Copse, North Baddesley, John Whitaker, 43, from Allen Grove, Romsey, and James Whitaker, 40, from Triangle Gardens, Nursling, all deny fraud.