A mother has been awarded up to £2million so she can cut ties with her ‘fast car-loving’ son who was handed the family’s £10million fortune despite her disinheriting him.
Retired girls’ school mistress Pamela Moore, 75, has never got on with her son Stephen since he was a child.
In 2012, after dedicating his life to working on Manor Farm in Wiltshire, Stephen learned that Pamela and his father, Roger Moore, had written him out of their wills.
After Stephen challenge the decision, in 2016, Judge Simon Monty ruled that promises by Roger – who is now in a care home with advanced dementia – trumped his will and his son was entitled to ‘the whole lot.’
Retired girls’ school mistress Pamela Moore, 75, has never got on with her son, Stephen since he was a child. The pair are pictured outside London’s Appeal Court
Pamela was allowed to stay on in the farmhouse, and Stephen was told to pay for any care his parents’ needed – but his mother was given just £200 a week to live on at the family’s £10m 650-acre estate, where she lived with the son she despised.
She appealed the decision on behalf of Roger, and Lord Justice Henderson today agreed that she should get between £1 million and £2 million.
Three senior judges at the Court of Appeal have now ruled that a ‘clean break’ between them is the only chance they have of a happier future.
At the Court of Appeal, Christopher Pymont Pamela’s QC said her rights as Roger’s wife and the family matriarch had been overridden.
‘The fruits of a long-lasting and happy marriage have been subverted by the judge’s order. Roger would have made sure Pamela was well provided for,’ he added.
He said mother and son living so close together was ‘simply not a tolerable and practical solution between people who have fallen out so badly.’
Pamela has been awarded up to a £2 million lump sum so she can cut ties the son she has been embroiled in a bitter legal battle with over the family’s £10m estate in Wiltshire (pictured)
The power struggle’ between the angry mother and her disinherited son ran up a a staggering £2.5 million in lawyers’ bills.
The law, the judge said, ‘cannot compel people who have fallen out to live peaceably together’ and a final separation was the only option.
Relations between mother and son were never good, but got worse in 2008 when Stephen acquired a half share of the family land from his uncle.
After he splashed out on a sports car, his mum accused him of ‘becoming very full of himself’ and using family money ‘as a piggy bank.’
Pamela believed her son is more interested in ‘fast cars’ than farming.
In 2012, after dedicating his life to working the farm near Stapleford, Stephen learned that Pamela and his dad, Roger Moore, had written him out of their wills.
They instead decided to leave their £5m share of the family’s holdings to his older sister, Julie.
Stephen, 51, challenged the move in court, saying his dad repeatedly ‘promised’ him the whole farm.
That included the ‘substantial’ Grade 2 listed Manor Farmhouse, where his mother still lives, and several other houses on the estate.
In 2016, Judge Simon Monty ruled that Roger’s promises trumped his will and Stephen was entitled to ‘the whole lot.’
Pamela was allowed to stay on in the farmhouse, and Stephen was told to pay for any care his parents’ needed.
The final lump sum Pamela will get is due to her will be assessed at another hearing, but the judge ordered Stephen to give his mum £300 a week until the dispute is finally resolved.
Lamenting that ‘in the region of £2.5 million’ had so far been spent on lawyers’ bills, the judge said: ‘The parties have become increasingly entrenched over the last nine years.
‘All attempts to resolve the dispute amicably have failed and the rift between Pamela and Stephen regrettably seems to be deeper than ever.’
He added: ‘In those circumstances, the need for a clean break solution is in my view compelling.
‘On any view, this was in my judgment far too high and disproportionate a price to pay for achieving the objective of enabling the farm in its entirety to remain in a single pair of male Moore hands for a fourth generation,’ said Lord Justice Henderson.’
It was nowhere near enough to reflect Pamela’s role as a mother and her ‘long and happy marriage’ of over 50 years to Stephen’s father, added the judge, who was sitting with Lords Justice Floyd and Leggatt.
The cash to be paid to Pamela would enable her to move to a new home, further away from Stephen, and give her an independent income.
Manor Farm has been in the Moore family for generations, expanding in scope and value as more land was purchased and more houses built on it over the decades.
Married father-of-two Stephen ‘has worked on the farm since his childhood’, toiling up to 100 hours a week, and is also a rally car driver in his spare time.
He was the only family member of his generation who was ‘passionate about farming’ and, since his father fell ill, ‘now in effect runs the farm alone.’
In his 2016 ruling, Judge Monty said: ‘Sad to say, relations between Pamela and Stephen had been difficult since Stephen’s childhood.’
As a school mistress, she was critical of his academic performance, but he was ‘passionate about farming’.