A widow who says her high-rolling gambler ex swore to ‘make her life hell’ after they split has beaten him in a court fight over her £540,000 London home.
Phillip Langford, a successful businessman who also makes £100,000 a year from betting, claimed he rescued then girlfriend Tracy Perrin from poverty and showered her with expensive gifts, including a diamond ring and a £7,500 Rolex watch, during their four-year relationship.
However, after they split up ‘acrimoniously’ in 2016, he insisted he part-owned Mrs Perrin’s house in Eltham, saying they had found the property together in 2013 and viewed it as their shared ‘home.’
He had contributed to the mortgage and the former couple had a deal that he would share ownership of the house as they ‘planned their future together,’ the gambler claimed.
But Mrs Perrin, who has her name on the deeds of the property along with her daughter Scarlett, said her ex was no more than a paying house guest and had no stake in her home.
He had earned the nickname ‘Phillip the Lodger’ by being ‘very possessive’ about food shopping he had bought, and on one occasion had an ‘angry’ row with Scarlett because she ate his chocolate from the fridge, her lawyers said.
She told Central London County Court he had sworn to make her life ‘hell’ after the pair split up in 2016 and she changed the locks on the house to keep him out.
Now Judge Sarah Langley has now thrown out his claim for a £50,000 slice of the house and hit him with a £35,000 court bill.
The court heard the pair met and began a relationship in July 2012, three years after the death of Mrs Perrin’s husband.
Mr Langford moved in with his partner in the home she had shared with her late husband and bought her gifts, including a diamond ring, Rolex watch, leather skirt and manicure sessions, the judge said.
In May 2013, Mrs Perrin and her daughter bought a new-build house in Woodcroft Close, Eltham.
Mr Langford, who followed the pair into the new house, claimed he helped Mrs Perrin choose her new home and also handed her £1,000 per month towards the mortgage – at one point increasing that to £1,600.
He also lent her £15,000 to pay off mortgage arrears on her former family home back in July 2012, the court heard.
Mr Langford insisted he had bailed out Mrs Perrin when she was in dire financial straits – with assets to hand, but little cash – and ‘had bailiffs at the door.’
‘When I first met her she didn’t have much food,’ he told the court.
‘I took her to Sainsbury’s and paid £200 or £300 on groceries and she actually cried at the till she was so grateful.’
He lavished thousands on her over the years and she enjoyed the ‘spoils’ of his wagers, the court heard.
On top of helping with the mortgage, he paid for family holidays and gave her expensive gifts – including the £7,500 Rolex watch.
Despite not having his name on the deeds, Mr Langford claimed he was entitled to a £50,000 share of the house’s value, which he said reflected his ‘beneficial interest’ in the property.
But Mrs Perrin said she never asked him for the £15,000 loan, which she had rapidly repaid in any event.
She insisted she had not planned for a long-term relationship with a man she branded ‘spiteful, bullying and controlling’ and claimed most of the cash he gave her was for rent.
She said he pledged to ‘make her life hell’ after their relationship hit the rocks and that she was actively frightened of him when they split.
‘He was controlling to say the least,’ said the 59-year-old teaching assistant, telling the court that Mr Langford had smashed a TV he had paid for after one argument.
‘He would run his finger to pick up dust and turn his nose up at anything being left out…he said he would make my life hell, which he certainly has.’
Stuart Snow, for Mrs Perrin, claimed Mr Langford was nicknamed ‘Philip the Lodger’ around the house, adding: ‘that’s how he was viewed in the property…’
And he suggested to Mr Langford in the witness box: ‘That’s how you got the name ‘Philip the Lodger’ because you were getting very possessive about your own purchases and shopping.’
Mr Langford, who runs a skip-hire business and claims to make £100,000 a year from gambling, was also ‘possessive’ about his chocolate in the fridge, the barrister claimed.
Mr Snow said: ‘There was one incident where Scarlett ate some of your chocolate from the fridge and you got quite angry about that.’
But Mr Langford insisted he ‘never had that name’, adding: ‘I didn’t buy food and put it in the cupboards and say ‘that’s mine’.
‘We were living as a couple…I wanted my share of what I paid towards the house. They expected me to walk away with absolutely nothing.
‘I viewed the property the day after she found it with her sister. We viewed it together.
‘I was dealing with the conveyancing solicitors. She instructed me to act on her behalf.
‘Me and Tracy were planning our future and we discussed it between ourselves.’
He told the judge that after the split: ‘I came home from work and put my key in the door and she’d changed the lock.’
Mrs Perrin denied Mr Langford had rescued her financially, saying: ‘He never gave me a lifestyle I didn’t already have. My husband did that and I never wanted for anything.’
The court also heard that Mr Langford was ‘excluded’ by the British Horse Racing Association in January 2016 after an enquiry found that he and a jockey carried out a ‘corrupt conspiracy to exploit inside information.’
Mrs Perrin’s barrister said: ‘He is a professional gambler and his claim represents nothing more than an opportunistic ‘bet’ in the hope of receiving financial reward.’
The judge found he had bought her the gifts as he claimed, saying: ‘I accept these were all part and parcel of the relationship between them.’
She added: ‘He bought her a TV for Christmas and then replaced it after he smashed it following an argument.’
But she concluded: ‘Mrs Perrin never reached a stage in her relationship with Mr Langford where she wanted to commit to a long-term future.’
Mrs Perrin had decided to buy the new house to create a new – but smaller – family home, she said.
‘I don’t accept that they started to look for a property together in January 2013 as Mr Langford claimed,’ said the judge.
In fact, Mrs Perrin had already found her new home by November 2012 and Mr Langford criticised her choice when he saw it.
‘Nor was there any discussion about a beneficial interest in the property,’ she continued.
In relation to the house, she found that Mr Langford had done nothing more than ‘make payments to Mrs Perrin in respect of his rent or keep’ and was due no stake in the property from his financial contributions.
After Mr Langford’s case was dismissed, he was ordered to pay legal bills, estimated at around £35,000.