Daughter, 77, sues ‘sicknote’ brother, 75, who never left their parents’ home after their ‘vulnerable’ mother left him her entire £500,000 fortune


A daughter is suing her ‘sicknote’ brother – who never left their parents’ home – after their ‘vulnerable’ mother left her entire £500,000 fortune to him.

Carol Scott, 77, claims her brother John Jones, 75, ‘isolated’ their mother Murial Jones and used a ‘drip drip’ of influence which resulted in the 94-year-old leaving the retired builder all her estate after she passed away in April 2017.

John lived with their mother his whole life and joined her when she uprooted and moved to rural Wiltshire in 2012, after she spent most of her life living close to all her children in Surrey.

Whilst living in Wiltshire, Murial subsequently drew up a new will, leaving everything to John and cutting out the rest of the family completely.

Now Carol, backed by other brother Peter, is suing John as beneficiary and executor of their mother’s will.

She claims her brother is a ‘a sicknote who always had something wrong with him’ and who was ‘looked after’ by their mother for most of his adult life.

She also believes her mother did not properly understand the contents of the will she signed. 

But John’s lawyers say he and his wife cared for Muriel round the clock in her final years and that her last will reflected the fact that he was the only sibling who didn’t own a property of his own.

Carol Scott, 77, leaving Central London County Court having sued her brother John Jones after their 'vulnerable' mother left her entire £500,000 fortune to him

Carol Scott, 77, leaving Central London County Court having sued her brother John Jones after their ‘vulnerable’ mother left her entire £500,000 fortune to him

Jones (pictured outside Central London County Court) lived with their mother Muriel Jones his whole life until her death in April 2017 at the age of 94

Jones (pictured outside Central London County Court) lived with their mother Muriel Jones his whole life until her death in April 2017 at the age of 94

Judge Simon Monty KC, at Central London County Court, heard that Muriel lived with her husband Ronald in Ripley, Surrey, close to Carol and Peter, until 2012.

Retired builder John and his wife Bronwen had shared his parents’ home, the judge heard, with Bronwen moving in, rather than him moving out when they got married.

In the aftermath of Ronald’s death, it was decided that Muriel should sell her home, with Carol believing she was planning to get a bungalow nearby.

Instead, two weeks before her house was sold, Muriel announced to her shocked daughter that she was moving around 100 miles away to an ‘isolated’ house ‘down a farm track’ near Trowbridge, Wiltshire, with John and Bronwen.

Carol, in the witness box, told the judge that she was shocked and ‘upset’ by the news of the move, which she put down to her brother John’s ‘influence’ over their increasingly ‘frail’ mother.

‘When she moved down to Wiltshire she was so remote, it was down a dirt track facing a field,’ she said.

‘It was down a long, narrow track. There was no way my mother could get out independently.

Carol  is suing John as beneficiary and executor of their mother's will

Carol  is suing John as beneficiary and executor of their mother’s will

‘They took her independence away. She was quite a sociable person.

‘She was dependent on them, because she couldn’t get anywhere by herself. You couldn’t take a wheelchair down that long drive because of the potholes.’

She also criticised the lifestyle Muriel had with John in Wiltsire, living in a granny annexe to the main house.

‘She didn’t have any heating when we went down. She was sat in a blanket with no fire on.

‘She was in bed every day until the afternoon, because the fire wasn’t lit until the afternoon.

‘She used to say it was dirty and not very nice.

‘She used to have to ask John for milk to give us a hot drink and he’d come in with a small jug. I started taking my own milk and tea bags down,’ she told the judge.

Carol, is arguing that the 2015 will is invalid, accusing John of exerting undue influence and claiming their mother didn’t understand the contents of what she was signing.

She wants to uphold a 2010 will, which gives John a lifetime right to live in his mother’s home, but then leaves it equally between Carol, fourth sibling Carl Jones, who is not part of the court claim, and Bronwen.

Peter did not receive anything under either will, having received a gift of money from his parents during their lifetimes to set up a hairdressing business.

Carol told the judge: ‘I never argued about John stopping in the house. But she was a family person. She said ‘you might not benefit Carol, but the grandchildren will’.’

John’s barrister Oliver Ingham told Carol: ‘Your mother was living with my client for decades. They cared for her round the clock from 2009.’

Carol told him: ‘For the last couple of years, yes. But they were living with her before that. She looked after them.

‘John wasn’t very independent. She used to make his porridge on a morning and he’d come home from work on a lunchtime and she’d make him a sandwich. Most of the time, she looked after herself. She was quite capable.

The judge at Central London County Court (pictured) heard that Muriel lived with her husband Ronald in Ripley, Surrey, close to Carol and Peter, until 2012

The judge at Central London County Court (pictured) heard that Muriel lived with her husband Ronald in Ripley, Surrey, close to Carol and Peter, until 2012

‘John’s always been like a sicknote. He’s always had something wrong with him. This is why mum felt she needed to protect him.

‘John has never been independent. I agreed at the time that he could live in the house until he died. That’s what mum wanted for John – to be safe and have a roof over his head.

‘I don’t think my mother understood the will. I don’t believe she wanted John to have everything.

‘John had full control. I feel that he drip fed her slowly. I believe it was done that way.

‘What mum used to say was ‘poor John’. He used to hobble in and say he had arthritis. He exaggerated. I’ve got arthritis in all my joints, but I never said to my mum “I’ve got arthritis”.

‘They told her how good they were being to her all the time,’ she added.

‘That’s completely wrong,’ said Mr Ingham, adding: ‘That belief is based on nothing.’

He said John ‘had a right to tell his mother he was suffering aches and pains’.

‘You don’t know what you’re talking about with the will at all. My client has been accused of heinous things and you are not able to tell us anything about that at all,’ he told Carol.

‘You own your own home. You had a successful career. You have done quite well for yourself. My client doesn’t own his own home. That’s why specific provision was made for him.

‘Do you harbour ill will against John because he lived with his mother?’ he asked.

‘I don’t even hate him for doing this. I can’t even say that,’ Carol replied.

Cheryl Jones, for Carol and Peter, in her written submissions told the judge: ‘Muriel would require John’s permission for everything and appeared to have to ask for money. At no stage did Carol and the deceased have a falling out.

‘The will left everything to John in starkly different terms to the (2010 will).

‘The 2015 will effectively ensured that the whole estate would leave the family.

‘John is hostile to his siblings.

‘It is unclear if the deceased understood that her estate would not automatically devolve on her grandchildren. It is also unclear why she excluded Carol, who had not previously received benefits and with whom she remained on good terms.

‘The deceased…was elderly and vulnerable. A ‘drip drip’ situation may be highly effective in sapping will.

‘The question is whether the deceased acted of her own free will or was manipulated into feeling that she had no choice but to make the 2015 will.

‘Facts in this case which point to undue influence by John on the deceased are the last-minute and mysterious insistence on purchasing a property miles from Carol, which was patently unsuitable for an 89-year-old woman in delicate health, the total dependence of the deceased on John and Bronwen (and) the deceased’s loss of control over her financial matters.

‘There is clear and convincing evidence of undue influence and that probate of the 2015 will should be revoked.’

Mr Ingham, in his submissions, told the judge: ‘It is respectfully submitted that this case is an example of disappointed beneficiaries who disagree with their mother’s freely-made testamentary choices.

‘The circumstances surrounding decision of Muriel to prefer John specifically are not such as to excite suspicion. Muriel had a long-settled pattern of preferring John, as can be seen from her 2010 will, about which the claimants make no complaint.

‘In considering the evidence given at trial, the court is asked to bear in mind also that John (and later Bronwen) had a long-settled history of living with Muriel.’

The case continues.



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