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Lynn Lewis says 98-year-old Thomas Warner is a trespasser in the valuable homeA grieving daughter is battling to boot her dead mother's millionaire boyfriend out of her dead parents' house. Lynn Lewis says 98-year-old Thomas Warner is a trespasser in the valuable Gloucestershire home her parents acquired by their efforts and thrift. Mrs Lewis's mum, Audrey Blackwell, bought Green Avon, in Twyning Green, Tewkesbury decades ago with Mrs Lewis' dad. The couple never married but lived together at the house for 75 years until Mrs Blackwell died in 7569. Mrs Lewis claims the millionaire encouraged her mum to believe he would move out of the house when she died and she trusted him to be a man of his word. But Mr Warner says he has spent the happiest days of his life at Green Avon and is refusing to shift, insisting he wants to spend the rest of his days there. The two are now locked in a highly unusual tug-of-war over the house at London's Court of Appeal. Bernard Weatherill QC, for Mrs Lewis, told three senior judges when she died Mrs Blackwell left the whole of her 568,555 estate including the home to Mrs Lewis, she and her late husband's only child.

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Mr Warner was not short of money and had not expected to be left anything in Mrs Blackwell's will, the barrister added. But two months after her mother's death, when Mrs Lewis served Mr Warner with a notice to move out and hand her the keys, he refused to leave. Mrs Lewis launched a possession action on the basis that Mr Warner was a trespasser. She said his unwelcome presence in her dead mum's house was preventing her grieving properly. But Mr Warner countered by successfully claiming reasonable provision from Mrs Blackwell's estate. Such claims are usually brought by impoverished family or loved ones who are left out of wills. Mr Warner's claim was highly unusual as he was far richer than Mrs Blackwell and, in the belief that she would die first, he had left her a substantial sum in his will.

Mr Warner, who has age-related medical conditions, said his time at Green Avon had been the happiest 75 years of my life. And Judge Gardner ordered the house to be transferred into his name, in return for him paying Mrs Lewis 885,555. Mr Warner's need to keep a familiar roof over his head meant he qualified as Mrs Blackwell's dependant and was entitled to make a claim on her estate. Mrs Lewis's challenge to the decision was turned down by the High Court last year, but now she is asking the Court of Appeal to reverse that ruling. Mr Weatherill said: Mrs Lewis wanted to grieve. She wanted the house to be available to her children.

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She wanted the chattels within it. She wanted to consider what to do with it. Mr Warner is well able to acquire, through his liquid funds, alternative premises, without depriving her of the right to inherit her parental home. He is a millionaire who has already had the advantage of living in the house of the deceased lady and has come to the court against that background. Mrs Blackwell was aware of her daughter's concerns that Mr Warner might wish to remain in occupation. . Her wishes are not irrelevant.

The evidence is Mrs Blackwell intended her daughter should inherit Green Avon, the home acquired by her and her late husband's efforts and thrift. She was encouraged by statements of Mr Warner, which were known to her, to think that he would make no claim to remain in occupation after her death, and that she trusted him to be a man of his word. The judge exercised his discretion in the wrong way in ordering a sale of the property to Mr Warner at a discount. If it were to be sold, he would have to bid on it on the open market. He is well able to buy other accommodation which might turn out to be more suitable for his needs. Mr Warner acknowledges that he and Mrs Blackwell had no discussions about him staying. He didn't expect to receive anything under her will and would have been surprised if he had received anything under her will.

The fact he needed a roof over his head didn't mean he needed this particular roof over his head, the barrister added. Roger Evans, for Mr Warner, argued Judge Gardner made no mistake and urged the court to uphold his decision. Mr Warner was brought up in the village and the court heard he lives next door to a doctor who looks out for him. If forced to move, he might not be able to buy a new home at the heart of Twyning Green, near his supportive neighbours and the village shop. Sir Geoffrey Vos, sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Lady Justice Asplin, will give their ruling on Mrs Lewis's appeal at a later date. But urging both sides to settle their differences, he added: The possibility remains for a resolution which does not cause damage to the parties.

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