The estranged father of Liam and Noel Gallagher could be made homeless after his house was ‘stolen’ in an alleged property ‘fraud’ involving one of the brothers’ childhood friends.
Tommy Gallagher, 77, is embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over the fate of his semi-detached home in Burnage, where the Wonderwall hitmakers grew up.
He claimed he was faced the ‘disaster’ of having his house repossessed when his mortgage deal expired, leaving him with £27,000 to pay – and no way to pay it.
He alleged Thomas Keenan, said to be a childhood friend of Noel’s, suggested his brother Ricky Keenan might be able to buy his house for him and as part of the deal, he could live their rent-free for the rest of his life.
But it is claimed that Mr Gallagher had actually signed papers agreeing to pay £650-a-month in rent, which he denied, and the home was sold in January 2017, the court heard.
A judge has ruled that on the balance of probabilities, Mr Gallagher was the victim of ‘fraud’, but the sale of the Ashburn Avenue property has still been allowed to stand.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2015, Noel revealed how the abuse he suffered at the hands of his ‘violent, alcoholic’ father made him worry about what sort of parent he would be.
The former Oasis guitarist said he developed a stammer as a result of the beatings he got from his Irish father Thomas, and said he didn’t want to repeat the mistakes which scarred his ‘horrific’ childhood.
Noel, his brother and bandmate Liam and their eldest brother Paul cut off all ties with Tommy Gallagher after their mother Peggy divorced their father in 1986.
In 2019, the rocker said he would never reconcile with his father.
Tommy Gallagher (pictured), 77, is embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over the fate of his semi-detached home in Burnage, where Wonderwall hitmakers Noel and Liam grew up
Mr Gallagher, who separated from Noel and Liam’s (pictured in 2008) mother when they were children, is planning to appeal the decision but says he is resigned to losing his home
Mr Gallagher, who separated from Noel and Liam’s mother Peggy when they were children, is planning to appeal the decision but claims he is resigned to losing the three-bed house he has lived in since 1972.
He has been estranged from his rock star sons for a number of decades, but he asked the brothers to buy the house back if they are upset by what happened to their childhood home.
When asked what he would to say to his sons, Mr Gallagher said: ‘It will upset them.
‘I’m sure their stomach will churn when they find out what’s happening.
‘If they want to come and buy the house, they can come and buy the house. You always love the place you were born in, don’t you?
‘Where you played with the kids, played football, went to school, them still being big time Man City fans, they can never get away from that.’
Mr Gallagher, a former builder and pub DJ, launched civil proceedings after selling his home in 2017, and his case was heard in the first-tier tribunal property chamber.
A First Tier tribunal hearing previously heard how in 2016, Mr Gallagher received a letter from Santander bank explaining that his mortgage was going to expire in October that year.
A judge has ruled that on the balance of probabilities, Mr Gallagher was the victim of ‘fraud’, but the sale of the Ashburn Avenue property (pictured) has still been allowed to stand
Mr Gallagher was ‘shocked’ as he believed it had been due to expire in 2017 and there was still around £27,000 to pay off.
He struggled to come up with the money and feared his home would be repossessed. ‘It was a disaster,’ Mr Gallagher said.
In a witness statement, Mr Gallagher claims that he discussed the situation with Thomas Keenan, a man he described as a ‘family friend’.
‘Thomas was a musician, I helped him a lot getting gigs,’ Mr Gallagher told the court.
‘He stayed in my house many times. When he was about 12-years-old, he was playing with my son Noel up in the bedroom.
‘I’ve known him about 20 years I would say, he was like a brother to me.’
Mr Gallagher alleges that Thomas Keenan suggested his brother Ricky Keenan might be able to buy his house for him, the court heard.
He claimed his idea was to ‘pay the mortgage off’ but instead, he signed a deal to sell the house for a total sum of £115,000. The three-bedroom house was said to be worth around £130,000 at the time.
As part of the deal, Mr Gallagher claimed it was agreed he could live in the three-bedroom house rent-free for the rest of his life.
But it is alleged that he actually signed papers agreeing to pay £650-a-month in rent – which he denied.
Asked about an agreement he supposedly signed to rent the house back, he said: ‘No way, I didn’t sign that. Do you think I’m going to sign for £650 a month to rent my own house? A madman wouldn’t do it.’
Mr Gallagher claimed that a deal for the sale of his property was first agreed in January 2017 at the office of a solicitor in West Yorkshire.
My Gallagher (pictured) claimed Thomas Keenan, said to be a childhood friend of Noel’s, said his brother Ricky Keenan may be able to buy his house for him and he could live their rent-free
He said he was picked up from his house by Ricky and Thomas Keenan and that he did not know where he was going.
‘I thought we were going to a solicitor’s in Manchester, next thing we were on the M62,’ said Mr Gallagher.
‘[Thomas] was trying to trick me into believing they were trying to pick me a solicitor.’
The home was sold in January 2017 and is now owned by Hanna Property Company Ltd.
In his findings, Judge Colin Green said the house was sold as part of an ‘elaborate scheme’, in which Ricky Keenan ‘represented’ that Hanna Property was his company.
Mr Keenan was said to have assured Mr Gallagher he could live there rent-free and would be paid further sums of money over the following year.
But in reality, Mr Keenan wasn’t connected to Hanna and shared a £56,000 ‘finder’s fee’ following the sale.
The judge’s ruling said Ricky Keenan ‘misrepresented matters’ to Hanna by saying he and another man were ‘entitled to £56,000 of the £86,000 agreed for the sale, by way of an agency fee or commission and discharge of an unspecified debt said to be due from Mr Gallagher to Ricky’.
The judge’s ruling read: ‘Although I have made a finding of fraud committed against Mr Gallagher, I have also found that this was not carried out by or on behalf of Hanna.
‘In consequence, the transfer of the property by Mr Gallagher to Hanna was not void or voidable.’
The finding of fraud was to the civil standard, on the balance of probabilities not the criminal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt.
But it is claimed Mr Gallagher actually signed papers agreeing to pay £650-a-month in rent, which he denied. Pictured: Noel (left) and Liam Gallagher as children at his Burnage home
Mr Gallagher has been estranged from his rock star sons (Liam and Noel pictured in October 2008) for decades, but he asked the brothers to buy the house back
The judge added in the ruling: ‘I accept the accounts given by Mr Gallagher… that Ricky represented that Hanna was his company, and that he gave various assurances to Mr Gallagher concerning not seeking payment of rent and that there would be payment by Hanna of additional monies over the following year.
‘I find that Mr Gallagher relied on these assurances, but that Ricky had no intention of paying any money to him.’
The court heard Mr Gallagher believed the house might have ‘possible celebrity value’ due to the brothers having been ‘born and raised’ there.
He is still living in the home and doesn’t know when he might be evicted.
Mr Gallagher is considering moving back to his childhood home in the village of Duleek, in County Meath in Ireland, but says coronavirus restrictions make that difficult.
In the meantime, he says he’s living under a cloud of uncertainty.
He said: ‘It’s like hanging on a rope, waiting for someone to let it go. It feels like I’m drowning every minute. I’ve never had a feeling like this before in my life.
‘I worked hard on that house. I would come home from a hard day’s work and I’d jump up a ladder to fix the roof. I never stopped.
‘It’s terrible. I don’t like talking to people I know about it. It’s okay talking to a stranger, but talking to someone I know, it’s very difficult because of all the memories.’