10 April 2014
Killer Paul Chadwick in High Court Battle to Inherit Victims' Estate
A man who killed his partner and their young son has launched a legal bid to inherit his victims’ entire estate. Paul Chadwick, 35, was convicted of manslaughter after repeatedly stabbing Lisa Clay and Joseph, 6, while he slept at the family's Bolton-le-Sands home in April 2013.
Chadwick is now using a loophole in the law to ask a High Court Judge to allow him to claim Miss Clay’s assets – to the dismay of her family.
They have now been dragged into costly legal battle to prevent Chadwick from laying claim to her wealth but are determined to fight for justice.
Chadwick has also applied for his victim’s estate to meet all of his legal costs run up during the legal action.
A family member, who did not wish to be named said, “We were stunned when we found out he was taking legal action to try to claim the inheritance. He robbed them of their lives, their futures, and now he wants to take their money. This is a matter of justice.
“This has caused a great deal of distress to us. The thought that Lisa’s killer can profit from his crime is too appalling for words. We can’t afford to be dragged into a lengthy legal fight.”
Relatives discovered that Chadwick was taking this action when they received a letter from a lawyer acting as executor to Miss Clay and her son’s estate over the Christmas period.
They were given only a few days to submit papers to defend the claim. The case came before Preston High Court on Thursday 27 March and was transferred to Manchester to be dealt with by a specialist Chancery Judge at a later date.
Chadwick is using a clause in the Forfeiture Act 1982 which allows killers to inherit their victim’s estate in exceptional circumstance.
Chadwick’s solicitors argue that because he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out the attack he is still entitled to the inheritance.
The Slater and Gordon Lawyer who is representing Miss Clay’s family said, “There is a section of the Forfeiture Act which exists to the perpetrator to bring a claim on an estate in extreme circumstances, for example, a battered wife who lashes out one day after years of provocation and kills her husband without intending to do so.
“We do not believe that the law was written to allow cases like this to succeed. We intend to fight his claim on behalf of the family.”
Miss Clay had named Chadwick as the sole beneficiary of her estate – thought to be worth more than £150,000 - in her Will. The couple lived together in a house they jointly owned. They also had a joint bank account.
Chadwick is also trying to claim around £30,000 placed in a Trust account for their son.
During his trial at Preston Crown Court, last year, the Jury was told the self-employed landscape gardener stabbed his son 25 times and Miss Clay 32 times before turning the knife on himself in a botched suicide attempt.
He was convicted of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility on the grounds he was mentally ill and he was made subject of a Hospital Order.
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