Wednesday 21 March 2018

Bishop: I did not influence woman in will case

Majella Rippington
Majella Rippington

Tim Healy

Latin Tridentine Bishop Michael Cox has told the High Court he did not in any way influence a woman whose will is at the centre of a legal dispute.

He said Celine Murphy (50) simply produced the handwritten will from an envelope and asked him to witness it and also entrusted it to him as executor.

He was giving evidence on the third day of a hearing in which Ms Murphy's sisters Majella Rippington and Edel Banahan, along with her brother-in-law Shaun Rippington, seek to have the will declared invalid on grounds of alleged duress and undue influence.

Bishop Cox (70) and sole beneficiary Mary Butler, a friend of Ms Murphy, dispute she was not of sound mind and have counter-claimed seeking to have the will declared valid.

Ms Murphy, a hair stylist from Old Naas Road, Dublin, died from cancer on March 15, 2011.

Her estate has a disputed value of between €283,000 and half a million.

The court was told she arrived at Mrs Butler's Sallins, Co Kildare, home on March 8, the day before she was admitted to St Vincent's Hospital.

Mrs Butler was not at home but her daughter Johanna, who around the same time had been diagnosed with the same cancer, was there along with Bishop Cox who is a long time family friend of the Butlers.

Bishop Cox told the court the three of them were sitting around the kitchen table when Ms Murphy produced the hand written will from an envelope and asked them to witness it. They signed it and Ms Murphy entrusted it to him.

Asked by his counsel Cormac O'Dualachain about claims he may have influenced Ms Murphy as to how she made the will, he said "No, the document was already prepared, all we had to do was sign and witness it".

Johanna Butler told the court Ms Murphy was a long time family friend. However, she was shocked when Ms Murphy produced a document from an envelope saying "this is my last will and testament" because they both had always been so positive about their illness.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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