Squatter now a millionaire landowner
A HOMELESS pensioner who has slept rough in one of London's plushest beauty spots since 1986 was celebrating today after winning ownership of his plot of land, turning him into an instant millionaire.
Harry Hallowes, 71, secured ownership to a 800 square metre plot in Hampstead Heath, after a two-year legal battle with developers who tried to evict the pensioner from the grounds of a former nursing home.
A building developer had tried unsuccessfully to evict Mr Hallowes from his makeshift shack since March 2005 as it sought to transform the building into luxury flats.
The feisty pensioner dug his heels in and consulted lawyers who provided evidence which showed that he had been living unchallenged on the plot for 21 years, and thus could claim the land as his own.
The area around Hampstead Heath is well known as an expensive place to live, even by London's inflated property prices, and is home to many stars, celebrities and liberal professionals.
“Someone mentioned a million (pounds) and someone else said two million, but I'm not impressed with figures. I just wanted a place to live,” a very composed Mr Hallowes said after hearing the news.
Mr Hallowes, who does odd jobs for local people including former Monty Python star turned firm director Terry Gilliam, laughed that he might now build himself a bigger residence.
“Maybe I'll build myself a house - everyone else around here seems to love building houses,” he said.