Attacked and Left for Dead: Fenland businessman Paul Salter tells his story
FENLAND businessman Paul Salter had made his first �1million by the time he was 24, and within six years the property developer had assets worth more than �200million.
But it all went wrong when his merchant bank went bust.
And a knock on the door in January 1990 gave Mr Salter the news he dreaded - he had to repay a �1million loan in cash within 28 days or face bankruptcy.
The fascinating story of how Mr Salter lost his fortune, and how he and his wife Mandy stuck together to fight back and cling onto their thatched home in five acres in Wimblington, is told in his book Attacked and Left for Dead.
The book has reached number 26 in Amazon’s best sellers list for finance and stock market books.
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Mr Salter had to clean toilets, chop firewood and beg for meat and vegetables to feed his family when he became penniless.
But with the support of Mandy, “the true heroine of the whole tragic story,” Mr Salter started his comeback through running Sunday car boot sales and went on to build another fortune.
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In his book, Mr Salter issues a warning to others who have either savings or borrowings.
He said: “When a bank goes bust, no government anywhere in the world is forced by law to give 100 per cent protection or pay out 100 per cent compensation.
“So if you have savings or borrowings, no matter how small or how big you think you are, you are definitely in very serious trouble.”
Mr Salter is calling on governments to pass new laws to protect the innocent. He said: “No human being on the planet should ever be made to suffer as I did.
“The cruelty so graphically detailed in this book must never be allowed to happen to anyone ever again, the innocent must be protected.”
Mr Salter’s book begins on the day the postman knocked on the door to deliver a letter on January 8 1990, demanding the repayment of a �1million loan in cash within 28 days.
He said: “It was like someone had hit me over the head with a hammer, it was heartbreaking.”
Mr Salter had given personal guarantees for the loan taken out to buy two town centre sites in Holbeach and the receiver from his failed bank pursued him personally for the debt.
He was unable to refinance the loan and failed to sell property at auctions.
Mr Salter said: “Our cars were seized in our driveway by the receiver’s bailiffs. And as all of my savings were invested in my businesses, I had virtually no money to feed my family.
“I was so naive, I did not know what Income Support was, For months I claimed no benefits. Instead we survived off the few hundred pounds that I had in cash and I returned to the poverty of my birth.”
“We were so poor and our family was so hungry that I had to scavenge Benny Gold’s rat-infested skips for rotten vegetables and potatoes with which I could feed my wife and children.”
Mr Salter was declared bankrupt on February 22 1992 and the same afternoon he went to visit his businessman father Gerald, the newly appointed Mayor of Wisbech.
Gerald told him: “Never ever give in Paul. Have your enemies won today son, or will you keep trying for me?”
Mr Salter said: “Despite it all, my spirit was not broken completely. I vowed to Mandy that I would never lay down and die and that some way, at some time I would rise above the situation and I totally believed that to be true.”
Mr Salter has already written a sequel called From Zero to Hero, telling how he made a second multi-millon pound fortune.
• The book, published by Vanguard Press, costs �8.99.