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Daughter wins 'Del-Boy of Darlington' inheritance case
8:00am Saturday 28th April 2012 in News
A BITTER family battle for part of an industrial estate bequeathed by a man dubbed the “Del-Boy of Darlington” ended in victory for his daughter in London’s High Court yesterday.
Rebecca Iles, 32, went to court over the land forming part of the town’s Cleveland Industrial Estate – known locally as The Forge – which she claimed her father, Bob Iles, had promised would belong to her after his death.
She clashed with her mother, Margaret Iles, who said she had no knowledge of any arrangements her husband had made.
Although Mrs Iles was registered as “sole proprietor of the disputed land” since her husband’s death at the age of 70 in 2000, Mr Justice Briggs ruled the plot was held in trust for her daughter.
Mrs Iles, of Cleveland Avenue, Darlington, argued that before 2004 she was “wholly ignorant” of her only daughter’s rights to the land – “whether under a trust or otherwise”.
But the judge concluded: “In my judgment she knew, before Mr Iles died, that (her daughter) was to be entitled to part of the rents from the Forge on and from her 25th birthday.”
It was clear that Mrs Iles knew her daughter’s entitlement arose under some form of trust, he added, although she had no precise idea of its terms or the extent of the land involved.
The judge sketched out a bitter background to the legal dispute, which he said was greatly aggravated – if not indeed caused – by a total and I fear irretrievable falling-out between the pair in 2008.
He said: “This had nothing of itself to do with the issues in this case, but has led to serious mutual bitterness.”
The land which sparked the court action was accumulated by Bob Iles throughout the 1980s the High Court heard. He transformed it from its then run-down state into a parcel of lucrative real estate comprising units for rent.
The judge said of Mr Iles: “He was variously described to me as a colourful rogue, a wheeler-dealer, and the Del-Boy of Darlington”.
Mr Justice Briggs’ ruling means that Miss Iles is now entitled to have the disputed land transferred to her name, and is also entitled to an account in respect of rents received and receivable by her mother in respect of the disputed land from April 2004.