|Wales Court: Wife and Girlfriend Both Forged Rival Wills|
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During the trial of a woman charged with forging her deceased cohabitant's will, the man's former wife has admitted she later added a forged codicil to the same will.
Chris John, a wealthy Cardiff estate agent, died suddenly in September 2008. There appeared to be no will in existence, and Mr. John's sisters quarrelled with his former wife Helen John over who would administer the estate.
A startling fact then emerged. Mr. and Mrs. John had supposedly divorced in 2001 with a clean break settlement. But she then discovered that no decree absolute had ever been issued, and so unexpectedly she became his widow with a strong claim on his estate under the intestacy rules.
A few days later, Mr. John's cohabitant Gillian Clemo produced a will apparently executed in 1999 and witnessed by herself.
It appointed Mr. John's sister Melissa as executor and as the guardian of his 13-year-old daughter, while the estate would go to the daughter when she reaches majority.
The prosecution alleges Gillian Clemo forged this will in order to stay in the home she had shared with Mr. John. Gillian Clemo denies the charge.
A bizarre twist emerged when Mrs. John herself gave evidence at the trial. She revealed that, after the contested will emerged, she herself added a forged codicil to it.
She only admitted this to police the week before Gillian Clemo went on trial. Police gave Mrs John a formal caution, the court was told.
The prosecutor told Newport Crown Court that the case resembled "something from a TV soap opera". Evidence is still being heard.
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Published on our website on Nov.19, 2010