A millionaire father removed his son completely out of his will and instead gave $32,20,584 (£2.4 million) pile to his granddaughter.
Lord Sidney Johnston died at the age of 95 in March 2017 and gave everything he had to 39-year-old Lady Natalie Wackett. This is despite his son Colin Johnston living off a state pension and from money serving as a part-time driver.
This week a judge told that it was ‘extraordinary’ a man could treat his son in such a way and gave Colin $1,67,773.88 ( £125,000) after he took his niece to court.
Sidney, who purchased manorial titles for himself and other family members, including Lady Natalie but not Colin, desired to leave his eldest son with nothing.
The High Court learned how Colin, who now resides in rented housing in Barnet, north London, worked for his dad for more than 30 years until a major ‘rift’ in 1991. He also told that his father and aspiring film star mum Elsie favored his younger brother, Natalie’s father Lord Gary Johnston, who died in October 2016.
Judge Edwin Johnson QC told that there was ‘something radically wrong from an early stage in the relationship amid Colin and his parents’. He added: ‘The evidence does not reveal any reason, at least by 1984, that anything had happened which would have caused or justified Sidney in turning against his son in this way.
‘I see it remarkable that Sidney should have chosen as long ago as 1976, if not earlier, that Colin should inherit nothing. I proceed to find it remarkable, and somewhat inexplicably, that a man should treat his son in this way, and that a man should favor one son over the other as Sidney favored Gary over Colin. This kind of favoritism has been causing conflict within families since time immemorial.’
Sidney left a whole fortune of around $32,20,584 (£2.4 million), the court learned, with a net value after expenses of around $18,78,618 (£1.4 million). Colin insisted that the will failed to make ‘reasonable provision’ for him and sued his niece, Natalie Wackett, as the estate’s executor.
He initially insisted on $11,67,252.90 (£870,000) but revised this down to the $1,67,773.883 (£125,000) awarded.
Judge Johnson added: ‘Earlier to the rift in 1991, I have discovered Sidney did give assurances to Colin that Colin would one day inherit his share of Sidney’s wealth. He ruled that Colin deserved ‘reasonable provision’ from his dad’s fortune, despite the dead millionaire’s animosity towards his eldest son.
‘The conduct of Natalie, who now runs the family car and property business, had been ‘excellent’,’ he added.
‘She had been a loving granddaughter to Sidney and to Elsie, who died in 2013, and ‘worked tirelessly to give them with care and companionship in their final years’.