A GRANDMOTHER must pay £200,000 after losing a court case where she told the High Court in London she gave away her £1.25m home to her son ‘by mistake’.
Sheena Godden, 76, signed over the large detached Victorian House called Kenwood, in Bosham, to son Robin, 50, and daughter-in-law Mary, 44, in 2012.
The house is on a gated private road off Main Road and includes five dwellings, three acres of grounds and a swimming pool,
Today (October 2), judge Andrew Simmonds QC rejected Mrs Godden’s case after she tried to sue for its return.
The court heard the retired police officer had fallen out at times with all three of her children, tenants, firms of solicitors and contractors.
The couple said in court that the agreement was to provide them with security, as they were intending to sell their own home to fund renovation work at Kenwood – a dilapidated former police house.
After a falling out, Mrs Godden changed her mind and threatened to ‘go legal’, they said in their evidence.
Mrs Godden claimed she did not realise the effect of what she was doing when she signed the documents.
“I lost everything I ever owned,” she said, also alleging a campaign of harassment against her by her son.
She has since been left living in an annexe on the property, existing like a ‘prisoner in a decaying wreck’ which sometimes has no heat, gas or hot water, she told the judge.
Judge Simmonds later told the court: “Her lack of mobility has made Sheena vulnerable in the sense of needing help from others for cleaning, shopping and going out.
“But, it is important to emphasise that, in my judgment, this has not affected her independence of spirit or her grip of her financial affairs.”
Judge Simmonds said Mrs Godden’s son was ‘genuinely and deeply upset’ by the rift with his mother and was ‘shocked and horrified’ by allegations of harassment.
The judge refused to transfer the property back to Mrs Godden but said all parties agreed she could stay in the annexe.
Mrs Godden was ordered to pay her son and daughter-in-law’s legal costs, which are estimated at around £115,000, but will also have to pay her own.
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