AN ELDERLY couple had to fix a massive hole after TWO cars ploughed into their house – but what happened next was even more unbelievable.
A local council threatened distraught pensioners Laraine and Phillipe with a fine of £51,000 after they boarded up the gap as a temporary repair.
Their property, in Melbourne, Australia, is currently boarded up and covered with tarpaulin almost six weeks after a vehicle slammed into their roadside home.
The motor ploughed into the room Laraine was working in, missing her by inches.
It was the second smash after another car hit the same house at night, and they fear it will happen again as there is no kerb on the road outside.
But as they wait for a more permanent repair, the council sent a notice accusing them of breaching building standards and warning they could be fined $100,000.
“I’ve always paid my rates on time and they’ve been rather dismissive about everything,” Laraine told A Current Affair of the hefty fine at the time.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had $100,000.”
After the segment aired on TV, the council admitted the letter was sent by mistake – reassuring the couple that they wouldn’t be fined.
A spokesman said: “’A standard letter was issued to the property owners in error which council deeply regret.
“Council spoke with the couple in April, explained this was a standard letter, apologised for any distress caused and reassured them no fine of any nature would be issued.”
However, the couple say they still live in fear of a repeat of the April 14 crash, with their house located so close to a busy junction.
It comes after a second car hit their home in the middle of night.
Describing her ordeal, Laraine said: “I was just sitting at my computer and suddenly I heard a big bang. I just fell over backward on my seat and all the things on my desk came flying on top of me.
“All the bricks and the windows smashed.
“Once before there was a similar accident at night and I guess I didn’t think it would happen again.”
The stress has reportedly started to take its toll on her partner Phillipe who continues to battle cancer after ten years.
“I’m afraid because of what’s happening, something could happen to me,” he said.
The couple now want their council to implement new safety measures after an engineer cited concerns over the absence of a raised kerb outside their home.
But Yarra Council have waved away any concerns over the need for extra measures – citing that a driving error was the cause of accident and not faulty road design.
“(The) council does not believe any additional road safety treatments would assist in this case due to the location of the house and its proximity to the road,” a spokesperson said.
“We has also provided assistance to the couple by making their property waterproof and ensuring it was safe to live in, as well as helping them work with their insurance company.”
Dean Hurlston of campaign group Ratepayers Victoria blasted the council for the ruling and accused it of being out of touch with the community.
“There is an existing safety issue and council’s responsible to make that road safe,” he said.
“I think council’s pretty negligent and should be doing everything they can to stop cars going through this person’s home.”