The former wife of a wealthy lawyer told a court yesterday that she could not believe he would have made a will leaving nothing of his multimillion-pound estate to herself or her children.
Gloria Sherrington was giving evidence in a High Court bid to have the will that left everything to the second wife declared invalid.
Yvonne Sherrington, Richard Sherrington’s widow, sat in court facing the first Mrs Sherrington, as she told Mr Justice Lightman that her former husband was “a man of honour who believed in his obligations”.
Paul Teverson, representing Yvonne Sherrington, asked her whether she believed Mr Sherrington had been “forced” to make the will.
She replied: “Force is too strong but I feel in some way there was pressure.
“I don’t believe that a man of his experience, a man who loved his children so dearly, that he would have put their future at risk.”
Mr Justice Lightman was told that Mr Sherrington’s estate was worth £7 million after payment of overdrafts totalling £2.5 million.
Gloria Sherrington said that she had not received any money from a pension fund of which her share had been valued at £750,000.
Mr Teverson put it to her that since her divorce in 1999 she enjoyed a mortgage-free property – Cheyne Walk in Hendon, North London, valued at more than £700,000 – £50,000 a year maintenance until 2002.
He said that although the pension fund had not yet been sorted out, she had received a total of £380,00 from insurance policies on her husband’s life and £700 a month rent from a second property.
The challenge to the validity of the will was brought by the three children of Gloria and Richard Sherrington.
They are Dahlia 30, Donna 27 and Ramon 21, who have each received more than £50,000 from insurance policies since the death of their father aged 56 in a road accident on the M25 in October 2001.
Earlier Ayesha Butt, the wife of Mr Sherrington’s personal assistant, told the court that she had been asked to sign papers in the lawyer’s office in North London but had not been told it was a will.
She said that Mr Sherrington and his wife were in the room but she had not seen a signature of any of the documents she had signed.
Mrs Butt said that she had also been asked to translate for an office cleaner, who was also born in Pakistan, and had been asked to act as a second witness to the signatures.
The children claim that the will was not “duly executed” because their father’s signature was not on it when it was witnessed.
Yvonne Sherrington also made a will on the same day leaving all her possessions to Mr Sherrington.
Mr Sherrington was head of the North London law firm which bears his name and ran Barex Brokers which provided mortgages.
The hearing expected to last two more days was adjourned until tomorrow.
“The Times”: 16 June 2004