Couple trapped living in broken down car in Braunston

A man and wife have found themselves stuck, living in a broken down car with their two dogs.
David Reeve next to the car he and his wife live in.David Reeve next to the car he and his wife live in.
David Reeve next to the car he and his wife live in.

David and Leanne Reeve live in their people mover parked near garages in Braunston.

Their bathroom are the toilets in the village church, and they live on takeaways and packaged sandwiches.

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David said: “We had the dream of living the good life, like on the TV series, and grow food and keep goats.”

Their decision to move out of their home and find a piece of land of their own was the start of a series of events that David himself describes as like ‘something out of a Dickens novel’.

David said: “We got a static caravan, and we found some land in Wales to put it on. But it wasn’t suitable. The person who sold us the land agreed to give us our money back, but only in dribs and drabs. We never lived in the caravan. It cost us £6,000 and we could only sell it for £1,000.”

Following that the couple moved around the country, ending up in the Preston area.

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David said: “We had a horse up there, but someone said it was trespassing on their land and threatened to cut its head off. I said to him ‘who do you think you are, a gangster’. A few days later I got a phone call from a well-known gangster in the area threatening to cut my head off.

“We got back down here and many of my friends I expected to see walking along the pavements were dead or gone. My relatives are in their 70s and 80s so we couldn’t ask them for help. We ended up in a room in Northampton. It wasn’t the nicest of places but it was better than the car. One night there was noise from next door. We asked them to quieten down and it was fine. Then some guy came into our room and punched me, knocking a tooth out.

“Now we live in the car. We were at Fawsley one day and some kids came along with a baseball bat and started hitting the car with us inside.

“We were travelling back and forth between here and Towcester area, but the car’s broken now. The air conditioner broke and that’s seized up the engine. What’s worse is now the battery has died, and it did so with the electric windows and sunroof open.

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“We’ve both got mental health issues, and I’ve got bowel problems. I’m not supposed to eat spicy food, but when you’re living on takeaways, what are the choices?

“I’ve been getting more and more ill since the new year. I don’t know what’s wrong but it’s getting worse. It just feels like something out of the Pickwick Papers. I don’t want to die in living a car.”

The pair have received help from local councillors, the village’s vicar the Rev Canon Sarah Brown, and their GP who has written to the district council on their behalf. Unfortunately for the Reeves, national housing rules means they have been classed as ‘intentionally homeless’ – putting them near the bottom of the housing waiting list.

Tim Wilson, who has been trying to help the Reeves said: “We need to find a different solution to this problem. The council isn’t the solution because their hands are tied by the rules.”

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Maria Taylor, community manager at DDC, said: “Legally, we cannot unilaterally disclose information about individual cases.

“Our Housing Options Team operates a drop-in service offering a wide range of assistance for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. All applications for homelessness support are dealt with fairly and accurately in line with the criteria and legal duties set out in the Housing Act 1996.”