Robert Webb pictured arriving at Kingston Crown Court today, where he
The former partner of an antiques dealer who was savagely bludgeoned to death on her doorstep, has been jailed for forging her will.
Robert Webb, 54, was today jailed for eight months for forging the will of his partner Robyn Mercer, 52, in a bid to gain control of their home in Surrey.
Kingston Crown Court heard two weeks before her murder, Ms Mercer took out a non-molestation order against her partner after he refused to move out of their home when their relationship ended.
Ms Mercer’s body was discovered the driveway of her home in West Molesey, Surrey, on the morning of March 14, 2016, while Webb was out walking the family dog.
The mother-of-two was attacked with an axe or machete from behind as she took her bins out before being bludgeoned as she lay on the ground.
Her injuries were so severe, police initially thought she had been shot.
No-one has been charged with the murder, but police say the investigation is ongoing.
Webb has told police he had no intention of using the false will, but wanted to ‘flush out the real will’.
Robyn Mercer, 50, was found in the front garden of her home. Murder squad detectives say she was beaten to death with either an axe or machete
Webb previously pleaded guilty to a single charge of using a false instrument with intent that the will be accepted as genuine.
Naomi Carpenter, prosecuting, said: ‘There was a non-molestation and exclusion order.
‘A statement from Peter Mercer, Robyn’s son, states they had ended their relationship after eight years together, although they remained living under the same roof.
‘The deceased had asked him to move out and he believes a letter was sent to the defendant in the first week of November 2015.
‘He took little to no action to leave and had slowed down the process with false emails from estate agents.
‘The molestation order was issued informing he defendant he had to leave the home, he believed a letter was sent to the defendant in 2016 asking home to move out.’
However in court today there was no copy of the order, and judge Recorder Ian Peddie QC adjourned the hearing to allow for the prosecution to find it.
The antiques dealer’s body was found in the driveway of her home in West Molesey, Surrey on March 14 last year
The judge said: ‘I have a note that about two weeks before her death he was subject of a non-molestation order and an exclusion order.’
Lyall Thompson, for the defence, said his client did not accept there was a non-molestation order and the couple were still in a relationship at the time of her death.
Webb was a suspect in the murder investigation for six months.
Just days after he was told he was no longer a suspect he received a letter from solicitors informing him the family home was going to be sold on behalf of Ms Mercer’s children and her half brother.
The court heard the couple owned the house – which the court heard is worth around £600,000 – as ‘tenants in common’ with, Ms Mercer owning 65 per cent and Webb owning 35 per cent.
Webb says he paid the mortgage and bills for the property, and claims the couple had an agreement they would have a 50/50 share of the equity.
Robert Webb, 53, allegedly faked the will of antiques dealer Robyn Mercer after she was bludgeoned to death
In September 2016 he told police he had found the will in the leaves of a book at the family home, and had sent the original to his solicitors.
The will was dated August 23, 2015, and been signed by Ms Mercer, and witnessed by Webb’s brother Bruce and best friend Alan Knight.
The will made him sole executor and trustee of the house until his death, after which the property would go her children.
The prosecutor said: ‘Upon reading the will, concerns were immediately raised as it was known at this time Robyn Mercer and Webb had ended their relationship and it was extremely unlikely she would have written a will to permit him two remain living in the family home for the remainder of his life.’
Referring to his police interviewed the defendant, Ms Carpenter said: ‘He said had no intention for it to be used, but put it forward to flush out where the real will was.’
The court heard he told his brother and friend to say they had seen the couple sign and date the document on an earlier date, having asked them for a favour to get him ‘out of a heap of crap’.
Police said the mother-of-two had been attacked and struck repeatedly after she went to put the bins outside following a family meal. Pictured, detectives at the scene
Mr Thompson, said Webb had carried out the offence due to the ‘pressure’ he had been under after the murder of his partner and being told he was being kicked out of the family home just days after being informed he was no longer a suspect in the case.
He said the couple had written draft wills together after ordering will writing packs from Amazon, and had filed them in the house.
The court heard Webb believes the original wills are in the possession of Ms Mercer’s half brother who live in South Africa.
Mr Thomson said: ‘It was ham-fisted and stupid, but it was done for an understandable reason to get what he believed he was entitled to under the law.’