| 9.8°C Dublin

Stepmother accused of forcing father to marry on deathbed

Three daughters of a millionaire businessman have accused their step mother of putting pressure on him to cut them out of his £4m will as he lay on his deathbed.

The women have launched legal proceedings against Maureen Wharton, who married George Wharton, her partner of 32 years, just three days before he died.

On the same day, Mr Wharton drew up the will in which he left his wife his entire estate and which is now at the centre of his family’s bitter dispute.

His solicitor, Timothy Bancroft, told the High Court that the dying man had given clear instructions on September 23, 2008 that his children should receive nothing, and that he wished to leave “all to Maureen”.

As both sides put forward their arguments yesterday, the judge, Mr Justice Norris, observed that the case concerned a "family at war with itself".

The court heard that Mr Wharton, from Sheerness, Kent, had carved out a successful leisure business on the Isle of Sheppey with the support of Maureen, his long term partner.