Couple fork out over £600k for dream home to learn years later they don't own it

Jess and Jackie Morecroft
Jess and Jackie Morecroft -Credit:ABC News

A couple forked out over £600,000 for their dream home to learn years later that it never belonged to them.

Jess and Jackie Morecroft paid over 1.2 million Australian dollars - the equivalent of £630,000 - for the home in 2018. The value of the Mermaid Beach home on Australia's Gold Coast has surged to more than $2.7 million over the years.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the home was still registered to the previous owner, an 83-year-old woman, despite the couple paying for it. Legal documents presented during the case showed that the property was never registered under their names.

The previous owner, Hind Issa, placed a caveat on the property with the Registrar of Titles, claiming that it had been "fraudulently mortgaged by criminals" and that her signature was forged. The Mirror reports that this led to a legal war between the Morecrofts and Ms Issa, who was represented in court by her daughter, as they battled for ownership of the house.

Last year, the court ruled in favour of Ms Issa, who has Alzheimer's, confirming that she was the rightful owner of the property and the Morecrofts had no legal claim over the property.

Speaking to ABC, Mr Morecroft said he had no hope for situation, stating it could be devastating for them.

The Queensland government was ordered to pay compensation to the Morecrofts
The Queensland government was ordered to pay compensation to the Morecrofts -Credit:ABC News

He said: “There is an endpoint here for us, which would totally ruin us … it feels very desperate at this point." His wife added that she was living in fear due to the stress of potentially losing their home, where they had resided for five years. She added: "We're just normal people who have bought a house."

The couple's lawyer counsel had argued during the trial that Ms Issa's removal of the caveat on the property indicated that she no longer had an interest in the house. However, Justice Crowley dismissed the argument, stating that Ms Issa had only removed the caveat in exchange for $40,000 (£21,000) on the condition that she retained all her rights.

But earlier this year, the Queensland government was ordered to pay compensation to the Morecrofts as they had spent $300,000 (£160,000) in legal fees due to the matter. The couple will receive $2.7m in compensation from the Queensland government, according to a ruling by the Queensland Court of Appeal.

Mr Morecroft expressed joy outside the court and stated that the verdict was "unbelievable", while his wife said that she was "incredibly relieved" to have the original decision confirmed unanimously.

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