During an emotional interview uploaded to YouTube, the Butcher family talk about how Danny ended up taking his own life and how they feel about his involvement with property academies.
The father of Danny Butcher, the former soldier who committed suicide after attending a property investment training academy and subsequently losing significant sums of cash, has called for the industry to be regulated to prevent other families going through similar heartache.
Alan Butcher has spoken out on Youtube to criticise training seminars which he likened to American evangelist meetings. “They whip people up into a frenzy and they believe anything they’re told. They get people together and block out all the negatives in the industry and concentrate on positives,” says Alan.
Danny Butcher, 37, became depressed after trying to clear his debts by enrolling on a £13,000 course run by Property Investors last October.
A BBC Inside Out programme in January revealed how Samuel Leeds’ Property Investors tells its customers they can make a fortune if they sign up to their two-day free course where attendees are told how to find cheap houses for sale on property websites and then how to work out rental income.
The trainers then say to be successful at ‘Deal Sourcing’, attendees can pay for further training course – which cost in excess of £10,000. Danny, who already had some outstanding debt, was persuaded to sign up and paid £13,000 to join Property Investors Academy.
However, after finding himself unable to make the training work, and having been refused a full refund, Danny felt there was no other way out.
Alan and his family have launched an online petition calling for regulation of the wider property training sector. He says: “A lot of people are embarrassed because they’ve lost money as they’ve been conned. If we get regulation, then at least other people aren’t going to feel desperate or misled.”
Dianne Granville, who managed to get a refund for her training, is currently informally assisting over 100 other people to get refunds via the small claims process. She says: “The industry has to get regulated. Other people are in dire straits and suffering from depression because of this.”
In a statement, Property Investors told the BBC: “We think that debate about standards and regulation in our sector is a good thing and it is something that we look forward to actively leading as it develops.”