Mother and daughter must vacate house after losing legal battle

February 27, 2017

A judge has ordered a mother and daughter to leave their Newry home after they lost a High Court legal battle over a will.

Jacqueline McEvoy and Michelle McCartney must vacate the property on the Rathfriland Road after Mr Justice Horner granted an order for possession of the house, owned by the late Grace McEvoy.  He also rejected the women’s “wild and scurrilous” allegations of lawyers being bribed.

Grace McEvoy died in April 2015, leaving a will witnessed by a woman appointed executrix, believed to be a solicitor operating in the Republic of Ireland.  Her house was to be sold and the proceeds divided equally between her 12 children.

The two defendants were among five people living with Mrs McEvoy at the time of her death.  They claimed the will was defective, questioned the deceased’s capacity, and raised issues about the will being properly witnessed, the court heard.

However, despite previously signing up to a compromise agreement aimed at selling the property and splitting the proceeds between the 12 siblings, the two women refused to vacate the house.  They alleged that they were forced to sign up to the arrangement by counsel, and that their legal team was bribed and conspired with the other side.

“The fact that these wild and scurrilous allegations have been made against professional men and women in open court is to be regretted,” Mr Justice Horner said.  “On the information before me, they appear either baseless or irrelevant.”

He described the defendants as wanting to remain in the property rent free, with no prospect of the deceased’s daughter raising the £140,000 necessary to buy out the other children’s interests and concluded that they have no legal right to remain in the house.

“The property will have to be sold and she and the first defendant will have to leave,” he confirmed.  “Both defendants seem unable to understand that they are receiving preferential treatment and that by remaining on the property, rent free, a great injustice is visited on the other siblings.”

The judge directed a further hearing if no agreement is reached on how long the defendants should be given to find alternative accommodation.