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A Jaguar's tale

A Jaguar's tale

Tuesday 18 February 2020

A Jaguar's tale

A 1959 Jaguar XK has been at the centre of a major Channel Islands court case after its owner, who believed his car was in a local garage, found it had been secretly sold to a man in the UK.

Guernsey resident Graham Hindle bought the car in Southampton back in 2003, paying £16,700.

Around five years after his purchase, Mr Hindle noticed a flaw in the Jaguar's paintwork and left it with a Guernsey mechanic for repair.

The car remained at the garage for a year, before the mechanic got in contact with Mr Hindle and said he was moving premises.

Time passed with no update on the car and, in 2011, the mechanic told Mr Hindle he was moving premises again but would continue to work on the Jaguar. At this point, the owner asked that the vehicle be returned to him, but the mechanic became elusive and stopped answering his phone.

mobile phone text texting

Pictured: Mr Hindle struggled to get in touch with the mechanic.

Mr Hindle was finally able to track down the mechanic, who confirmed in person that he would return the Jaguar.

Less than a month later, however, an English car dealer got hold of the Jaguar from an unknown third party.

Mr Hindle was unaware of this until he received a letter from the DVLA informing him that someone else had applied to be recorded as its keeper. He quickly wrote back to the authority saying he was still the car's registered owner, before going to meet once more with the mechanic. He was told the Jaguar was still in storage in Guernsey, while the mechanic also mentioned he was having financial difficulties.

In January 2012, the English car dealer sold the Jaguar on to another man in the UK for £22,000. At this time, it was in need of restoration and didn't have an MOT certificate. Subsequently, the new owner spent about £43,000 restoring and improving the car.

Guernsey Police Station

Pictured: Mr Hindle eventually got Guernsey Police involved.

Later that year, Mr Hindle once again tried to track down the mechanic, but with no luck. He then contacted Guernsey Police and a report was filed.

In 2013, the owner in the UK sold the Jaguar to his good friend Ian Kitching, who paid £65,000 for it. He later spent a further £3,660 on repairs.

It wasn't until three years later, when Mr Hindle was told by police about the new registered keeper, that he got in touch with Mr Kitching. He wrote a letter explaining the Jaguar's background and asked that it be returned to him, as he was the original owner.

Mr Kitching wrote back denying the claims, which sparked Mr Hindle to begin legal proceedings.

letter write writing

Pictured: Mr Hindle wrote to Mr Kitching to ask that the car be returned.

The case was heard by Guernsey's Royal Court over four days towards the end of 2018, and a verdict was delivered in April last year, before the judgement was posted online last month. 

The Jurats concluded that the Jaguar had no "special significance" to Mr Hindle, as he had been prepared to leave it with the mechanic for a number of years without taking action. However, they decided it was  "cherished" by Mr Kitching, who used the car on a regular basis including at his daughter's wedding.

After deliberation they gave Mr Kitching a choice. Either, he could return the car to Mr Hindle, who would have to pay him around £47,000 to cover the cost of the work carried out on the Jaguar during its time in the UK. Or he could keep the car and elect to pay Mr Hindle £20,000 in damages.

The case came to light after Mr Hindle, who was unhappy with the verdict, recently attempted to appeal it. This was, however, thrown out by the court, which maintained that its original verdict was fair.

Pictured top: A Jaguar similar to the one involved in the case.

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