Nottingham

Ex-judge and husband admit forging will to inherit cottages

Alan Hampshire and Margaret Hampshire Image copyright Nottingham Post
Image caption Margaret Hampshire (right) committed offences while she was still a practising judge, while her husband Alan (left) admitted stealing more than £23,000

A former judge and her husband forged a will to inherit two cottages and stole more than £23,000 to renovate the properties, a court has heard.

Ex-solicitor Margaret Hampshire and husband Alan admitted forging the will of Martin Blanche, who died in 2007.

Mrs Hampshire then transferred Mr Blanche's estate to her cousin, who she held power of attorney over.

Mr Hampshire stole the cash from the cousin which was then used to do up the cottages, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

Updates on this story and more from Nottinghamshire

A series of other charges against the Essex couple, who admitted a total of six offences during their trial, were ordered to lie on file.

Nottinghamshire Police said Mr Blanche, who had lived alone, was thought to be unable to read or write and those who knew him believed it unlikely he would ever have written a will.

Mrs Hampshire, who committed the offences while she was a practicing judge, falsely declared Mr Blanche's will was a true document, the force added.

She then transferred his estate - which included two cottages in Rolleston, Nottinghamshire - to her cousin Josephine Burroughs, who was herself a relative of Mr Blanche.

'Dishonesty unravelled'

Mrs Hampshire admitted fraud in dishonestly exceeding her position by transferring the property in Rolleston to her daughter. She also pleaded guilty to making a forged document to avoid inheritance tax.

The couple then knocked the two neighbouring cottages through and moved from Essex into the now extended single house this year.

Mr Hampshire also admitted stealing £23,176 from Ms Burroughs - who died in 2014 - in 2012, much of which police said was used on renovating the cottages.

The couple were arrested in September 2014 but denied the offences.

However, Mrs Hampshire pleaded guilty to fraud and two counts of forgery, while Mr Hampshire admitted one charge of forgery and two counts of theft on Wednesday.

The pair, of Church Road in Wickham Bishops, will be sentenced on December 20.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said: "Their dishonesty unravelled after a complex police investigation undertaken by the fraud department, which included handwriting analysis by an expert, financial investigation and computer data analysis."

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