The family £5million in debt...

One family’s £5million debt …

Charles and Iona Cole face losing everything. Story in the DAILY MAIL newspaper today.

Family with £5Million debt
The Cole's story in the Daily Mail

Until recently the Cole family seemed to have everything going for them.
Charles, 46 and his wife, 39, have been happily married for 20 years. They have four children aged 11, 15, 17 and 19, all of whom were privately educated.


They were also multi-millionaires – the couple own a stunningly beautiful Manor House and farm in Devon worth around £2.25million and over 60 buy to let properties. With all their children privately educated in top public schools, life seemed good.
But today the family face losing not only their home but also their business.
In 2007 Charles made a disastrous investment. With rising school fees to fund, he took a £3.3 million loan against his home and buy to let properties to invest in a property deal in Romania – it all went wrong and now the family, unable to pay back the loan – which with interest has now reached £5million – face being made homeless. Their bank has told them their home and other properties will be repossessed within months.
They have already had to take their children out of their private schools – May was about to begin GCSEs and Elizabeth, her A levels.

Family facing bankruptcy
Thankfully the Coles are a very close family


He admits he made a foolish mistake by believing the lawyers and other professionals who recommended going ahead, that there was no risk. And as investigations continue into where his money went, he is now seeking a legal case and compensation.
But despite the fact Charles has never missed a bill in his life, his bank isn’t cutting the family any slack at all. Charles says they are ‘heartless’ because instead of writing off some of the loan – or waiting for the outcome of his legal case – they require it to be paid back by April.

Worse, as Charles explains in the Daily Mail story, he is unable to sell his properties to pay back the loan because they would all be subject to capital gains tax, which would immediately bankrupt him.


Fortunately their eldest son, 18, had finished at his public school – although plans to go to university are on hold. But Charles faced every parent’s nightmare when he had to sit Elizabeth and May down and tell them they had to leave the public schools they adored. They are now being taught from home and younger sister Charity will soon join them.
The family did not inherit their wealth – the couple worked hard to build it up – and as the loan takes so much money they are currently virtually penniless. Yet ironically until they are actually out on the street they won’t qualify for any benefits.


Charles came to me to place his story because he feels desperate. He feels he’s being treated particularly unfairly by his bank and wanted to raise awareness that financial nightmares can and do happen to anyone.

Having spoken at length to Charles, he is a true gentleman who is so down to earth and both he and Iona are absolutely delightful to talk to. They are not a ‘bling family’ but incredibly hard working. We can only hope that the bank will give the family more time to pursue their legal case and we will be following the family’s plight.

Do you have a financial story you would like to see in a national newspaper, such as the Daily Mail? Perhaps you have been or are in debt? If so, contact me via Featureworld.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

2 thoughts to “One family’s £5million debt …”

  1. I think this story is laughable. These people clearly beleive the world owes them a living. They have 60 properties they could sell !!! Children privately educated !!! and a £2.25 million manor house!!! Do they actually live in the real world ???
    Hard working families are having their houses reposessed every day, and the banks certainly don’t give them a break. If this person lost £3 million pounds on a business investment, then more fool him for remortgaging to fund it, he could have sold his 60 flippin houses to fund it instead.
    Why on earth should this family expect any help from banks or such like.
    Due to the current financial climate we are all finding it difficult, and most of us budget accordingly, cutting back on things that are not essential. I think it’s fair to say that private education and 60 properties are certainly not essential. Yet this family still want help.
    Where was my help when in 2010 i was diagnosed with cancer and had to take 6 months off work ?? oh yeah a 57p reduction on my council tax… woo hardly even worth filling out the paperwork. You didnt hear me moaning that i deserved more help, i did what everyone else does in times of hardship – I MANAGED with what i had.
    This family need to stop whining about the situation they put themselves in, the only thing this family needs is to come down from the pedestal they put themselves on and get a grip!! Welcome to the real world, where nothing is handed to you on a plate.

  2. What a shocking story: imagine a bank not cutting its customer any slack when he’s obliged to pay them what was agreed upon. This is reality, where your mistakes are your own problems to deal with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.