Professional footballer Robbie Keane has won a six-figure sum in a fight to evict a pensioner from the £3.8 million Hertfordshire mansion he shares with his wife. The 42-year-old and his wife, Claudine, have spent the last three years locked in a court battle with Sandi St Paul, 74, and Stewart Lawrence over £300,000 in rent owed. Central London County Court heard the pair had rented the home since December 2019, but Ms St Paul and her friend, a former drummer for sixties band Donovan, stopped paying in April 2020.
Mr and Mrs Keane left the property when the ex-footballer, who played for Spurs and Ireland’s national team, moved away for coaching jobs.
They rented the home, which comes with a large garden and cinema room, to Ms St Paul for £8,000 a month.
The fashion boutique owner told judge Heather Baucher that she and Mr Lawrence had withheld the sum after they were allegedly left with “no heating or hot water” for two winters.
She claimed stress caused by the situation caused a stroke, but Mrs Keane said she was “reduced to tears” when she was refused access to the home so workers could fix a leak.
The former Miss Ireland contestant said she “refused” to let workers in after she “begged” her tenant.
She added: “I cried on that phonecall and begged you ‘please don’t destroy my property’.”
Attending the court without a lawyer, Ms St Paul claimed she didn’t answer the door to tradesmen as she was “hospitalised twice and had to take bed rest”.
She also alleged that “nobody was ever refused entry to that house”, adding she and Mr Lawrence, who moved out a year ago, had “never been anything less than pleasant to anybody who came round”.
READ MORE: Mike Tindall’s unexpected new friendship following Monaco Grand Prix laid bare
The business owner accused Mrs Keane of ignoring “heartfelt emails” pleading for an out of court resolution.
The judge ruled in Mr and Mrs Keane’s favour, ordering Ms St Paul to leave the house or face eviction by High Court sheriffs.
She and Mr Lawrence must now pay the £292,192 in arrears and an additional £70,000 covering the Keanes’ legal fees.
The court heard Mr Lawrence had countersued in a bid to offset the rent arrears, alleging failures to make repairs to the property.
The countersuit alleged the entrance buzzer was faulty and that the underfloor heating system was “absolute rubbish”.
Judge Baucher dismissed the counterclaim due to a lack of supporting evidence, stating the pair had failed to engage with the owners and “allow access to assess disrepair”.