Judge urges family of legendary jockey to resolve will row
A judge has urged a mother and her four children to try to resolve a dispute over the valuable estate of the late and legendary amateur jockey Bunny Cox.
Mr Justice Denis McDonald made the appeal twice at the High Court during proceedings by a court-appointed administrator against Sally Cox, widow of John Richard Cox, known as Bunny, of Lisnawilly, Dundalk, Co Louth, who died in January 2006, aged 81.
A native of Dundalk, Mr Cox was one of the greatest amateur riders in the history of Irish National Hunt racing. He rode his first winner aged 13 in 1938 and his career in the saddle extended until 1972.
He won the National Hunt Chase in successive years at Cheltenham on Pontage (1953) and Quare Times, which went on to win the Aintree Grand National for Vincent O'Brien.
Mr Cox had appointed three executors of his estate, one of whom was his wife.
Anthony Toomey was later appointed by the court as administrator. The administrator's case is aimed at setting aside a deed of transfer of March 18, 2005, made between the late Mr Cox and his wife.
Under that transfer, Mr Cox transferred the house and land at Lisnawilly from his sole name into the joint names of himself and his wife. The effect of the transfer, if upheld, is the house and property passed to Ms Cox on her husband's death.
It is claimed Mr Cox's consent and/or signature to the deed of transfer was procured by duress and/or undue influence. It is alternatively claimed the transaction effected as a result of the transfer amounts to an unconscionable bargain.
It is claimed, after the transfer, Mr Cox made a last will on June 11, 2005, and a codicil or amendment on August 17, 2005.
Under that will, it is claimed Mr Cox left 50pc of his house and land to his wife; 10pc to each of his three daughters, Jennifer, Michelle and Suzanne; and 20pc on trust for his son Richard for his life, to be split equally after Richard's death between the three daughters.
It is alleged, when Mr Cox signed the March transfer document, he had been suffering from ill-health for some time, having been diagnosed with lung cancer about November 2004.
Other claims include that he did not have the benefit of independent legal advice concerning the transfer document which, it is claimed, was witnessed by the same solicitor for Mr Cox and his wife.
In opposing the case, Ms Cox denies the claims, saying the March 2005 transfer was in consideration of the natural love and affection her husband bore for her and is valid, effective and enforceable.
She says her husband acted freely and voluntarily.
The hearing continues today.