First, welcome abord to CD Freaks
What it seems like is that the Vista partition has been corrupt by what ever Redhad did. When you start the Vista recovery DVD, have you tried deleting the partitions to create a new one (assuming you’re sure you’ve nothing important on the laptop)? Also, what error did you get when Vista refused to repair the existing OS?
As a last resort, another thing you can try is get a bootable disk partitioning utility (e.g. SystemRescueCD), burn it to CD and boot it in your laptop. If you have some content you still need on the laptop, boot this live OS CD, plug in a USB HDD and copy any folders you need to the external hard disk, assuming it can read the hard disk contents. When you’re sure you don’t need to recover anything else on the laptop, use the partitioning utility on the CD to wipe all the partitions on the hard disk, then shut down and boot the Vista recovery DVD.