A daughter who was was cut out of her “unreasonable, capricious and harsh” mother’s will has been handed £164,000 by top judges.
The Court of Appeal defied Melita Jackson’s final wishes to give all she had to animal charities and saved her only child, Heather Ilott, from a life of grinding poverty.
Mrs Jackson never forgave her daughter, 54, for eloping with her boyfriend when she was just 17, the court in London heard.
And, as well as leaving her not a penny of her £500,000 estate, she penned a “spiteful” letter, instructing that any claim by her daughter should be fought tooth and nail.
Slamming Mrs Jackson for failing to make ‘reasonable provision’ for her daughter in her will, Lady Justice Arden handed Mrs Ilott £164,000 from her mother’s estate.
Most of that will be used by Mrs Ilott, a mother of five, to buy her housing association home, in Ware, Hertfordshire, with £20,000 left over to supplement her benefits.
Mrs Ilott, never met her father as she was still in her mother’s womb when Thomas Jackson was killed in an industrial accident in 1960.Mrs Jackson did not have any children after Heather and passed away in 2004, aged 70, having survived her husband by 44 years.
However, the mother and daughter suffered a catastrophic falling-out long before that when Heather ran away with her teenage boyfriend.
The bad blood between them continued as the ink dried on Mrs Jackson’s final will and did not relent before she breathed her last.
Mrs Ilott is still with Nicholas Ilott, the childhood sweetheart who came between her and her mother all those years ago.
However, the family are now living on the breadline.As well as being kept off the housing ladder, she said Mrs Ilott, of Great Munden, Ware, is so poor that she had “never had a holiday”.
“She had difficulty affording clothes for her family, was limited in the food she could buy and much of what she had was old or second hand,” said the QC.
Much of Mrs Jackson’s wealth derived from assets Mr Jackson paid for from his wages and compensation money awarded after his death.
James Aspden, solicitor for the three charities, said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the court’s decision.