Doctor says woman in will case 'not easily led'
Published 23/07/2015 | 02:30
A woman whose will is being contested over alleged undue influence was no more vulnerable than any other cancer patient in a similar position, a doctor has told the High Court.
Hair stylist Celine Murphy (50) died on March 15, 2011, leaving her estate to a friend, Mary Butler, from Straffan, Co Kildare.
Ms Murphy, of Old Naas Road, Dublin, was not married and had no children. She also entrusted the will to Tridentine Bishop Michael Cox, who acted as executor.
Her two sisters, Majella Rippington and Edel Banahan, along with Mrs Rippington's husband Shaun, want the will declared invalid because they say Celine was not physically or mentally capable of signing it on March 8, 2011.
She died a week later in hospital.
Ms Butler and Bishop Cox say Ms Murphy was of sound mind and have counter-claimed, seeking a declaration that the will is valid.
The court has heard the family say the entire estate, including an insurance policy, is worth about €500,00, while the defendants estimate its value is now €283,000.
On the second day of the hearing, a doctor who treated Ms Murphy in St Luke's Hospital in Dublin said she was no more vulnerable than anyone with cancer.
Dr Osama Salib, consultant in radiation oncology in St Luke's, said Celine was a very strong-willed person and would on occasion tell him what to do.
"She was a lady who knew what she wanted, you could not mislead her easily," he said.
The court also heard that Ms Murphy's two sisters and brother-in-law were claiming Celine's fingers were so badly damaged as a result of complications from her cancer that she was not physically able to sign a will.
The case continues.