18 Sydenham Park Road. London SE26 4ED (pix 1958)
My parents bought this 6 bedroom house with a massive garden in Sydenaham SE26 in 1958 with an inheritance from my mother’s father. She paid the deposit and all the first two years mortgage payments. Divorce proceedings commenced after 5 years of marriage, which was still very taboo in 1960. However, she did not require the photos of her constantly being black and blue, or witnesses to her being unable to be seen in public. The divorce went through uncontested on the grounds of extreme cruelty.
However, John never paid a penny in maintenance, as ordered by the court. I was the poor kid at school. He wanted to buy my mother out of her share of the house when he wanted to remarry in the 1970s. I have all their letters confirming the arrangement; a small sum (about £1500), her dropping any claims on maintenance (which would have been £10,000s) and a guarantee John would write a will giving me the house on the passing of his second wife. This was by far the most important feature of this settlement – she wanted to look after me, despite the horrendous conditions he’d subjected her to. John did not ensure my mother was legally advised, as he was obliged to have done – but she didn’t believe for a minute that even John would not look after his first born son!
When my mother passed in 2006, I read the correspondence between my parents in the 1970s. Even though both my parents had told me I’d inherit the house – or a large share of the current value of 18 Sydenham Park Road, I rang Jenny and asked respectfully if I could see the will. She said he’d made no will! This has now turned into fraud.
Ironically, Zoe and Paul are the sole beneficiaries to my estate in my will!
That John had made no will was devastating news, as it meant that everything went to Jenny, and on her passing, everything goes to her children, Zoe and Paul. I sent Zoe in 2010 all the correspondence between my parents; she didn’t read them. I wrote to Jenny in 2017, but she did not reply. Jenny passed in 2018. Zoe and Paul again had copies of the correspondence, but their solicitors said my mother had been reimbursed (£1500!) and it was her fault the marriage broke down – even though the divorce certificate cited extreme cruelty (i.e. violence) by John! My solicitor says that Zoe and Paul would have to live their (luxurious) lives in moral guilt, knowing they are complicit to a fraud and beneficiaries of it, and we should take them to court for, what amounts to 59% of the current value (~ £1.6 million) + costs. I receive full costs as I am on state benefit (ironically, my throat cancer was caused by extreme secondary smoking from my father when I was a very young child!)
The agreement between my parents in 1976 was that qhen John’s second wife, Jenny passed away, this matter would be settled. Jenny passed awat in January 2018, but Zoe and Paul refuse to honour this. They know it is fraud and they have benefited from it. If I take them to court, they will lose an awful lot more – it would be so much more sensible to reach an amicable solution, but they refuse to discuss this with me (funny – I can’t speak!).
I am very sick due to cancer, which they are well aware of, and I would prefer not to have to endure pursuit of this legally. Even getting out of my house is an ordeal due to my mobility disability. I live 4 flights up with no lift, and cabs can’t get to my house.
Why has such greed and evil grown in my family?
Click twice on the garden pic to see me & aunty Jo (who lived in the attic flat). My father sold the house soon after he remarried to downsize to 17 Woodmere Way, and then a further downsize to 25 Hambro Ave. At each downsizing, there were cash windfalls each time of approx. £700,000 which went into trust for Zoe and Paul.
I should state another couple of pertinent examples. My mother’s baby grand piano, given her on her 9th birthday in 1937 and bequethed to me in her will, and a Graham Sutherland original painting given me on my christening, September 1955. Even my violin! All of these I had to struggle to take them back from Zoe! How low can you get?