Princess Margaret’s godson has evicted a disabled former soldier from his Sussex haven. Andrew Johns, 57, moved into his cottage on the Buckhurst Estate in 2016 after persuading Lord Buckhurst, the millionaire godson of the former Countess of Snowdon, to let the property two years earlier. But, seven years later and after renovating the derelict property at his own cost, he has received a notice informing him that he must vacate despite being promised a roof for life.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he explained that he has just weeks left to leave his home.
A notice served by trustees for the family estate has given him two months to pack his bags.
The dad-of-four, who suffers from PTSD after he was maimed serving in Northern Ireland, said he feels “physically sick” thinking about moving out.
He explained how he spent “every single penny I’ve ever had”, and must now leave with “nowhere to go”.
He told the Mirror that he left a happened upon the cottage in 2014 and spent two years negotiating before he moved in seven years ago.
He had previously lived in Essex, where he had a “beautiful little bungalow”, but the noisy little town had impacted his PTSD.
While moving to the derelict cottage was a “sacrifice” at first, the resulting peace and quiet was “like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders”.
Mr Johns added: “I wake up in the morning and all I can hear is birdsong – but it’s now being ripped away from me.”
When the ex-soldier first moved in, he struck a deal with Lord Buckhurst, 43, to pay £250 a month for three years.
The Lord, known by his full title William Herbrand Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, is the godson of the late Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II’s sister.
He is the heir to the 2,000-acre Buckhurst estate Near East Grinstead, and Mr Johns said the two signed a tenancy agreement that bound their original deal on paper and outlined the final figure.
But the Lord upped the rent to £525 in 2017 and again to £700 a month in 2022.
He claimed he was promised the property for life and that Lord Buckhurst had said the rent “will never go up to full market value”.
He trusted the millionaire’s word, believing that “if you can trust anyone you can trust a Lord”.
Now the dad, who takes 28 pills a day, including morphine and tramadol, fears moving elsewhere after being evicted by “one of Britain’s richest men” as he “cannot cope with lots of external noise”.
When contacted for comment by the Mirror, Lord Buckhurst said: “It’s not something I’m involved with but thank you very much for calling.”
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