A CLEANER who claims she is entitled to most of her late employer’s £500,000 fortune has won a High Court battle to overturn his will.
Leonora Da Costa, 50, looked after ex-Savoy head waiter Harold Tickner for years and in 2014 he named her the main beneficiary of his will.
But 16 days before his death in 2015, Mr Tickner, 91, gave his £500,000 Harrow home to his nephew, retired barrister Dennis Germain. He also made a new will cutting out Mrs Da Costa.
Now a judge has ruled Mr Tickner was incapable of making a will in June 2015, and that there was “no real doubt as to the validity” of the 2014 will.
Mrs Da Costa can now legally challenge the gift of the house.
If she is successful, she stands to inherit more than £400,000 of assets.
The court heard Mr Tickner was born in Cologne, Germany, but was sent to a boarding school in England, and during WWII fought against the Nazis in the British army.
He was a head waiter at the Savoy before the war and at the Savoy Grill afterwards. He then ran a lettings agency, before spending the later years of his working life in a bank.
He got to know Mrs Da Costa through her husband, Eduardo, 53, who worked as a gardener at his home in Cambridge Road, Harrow, around a decade ago.
Mrs Da Costa described her relationship with the pensioner like one of “father and daughter”.
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He gave her at least £45,000 to fund her young daughter through public school.
After the death of Mr Tickner’s wife, Ursula, in 2012, Mrs Da Costa was with him “every single day”, cooking and cleaning, and going out with him for meals.
The case will go before another judge.
Dennis Richard Germain outside High Court during hearing in dispute over the estate of his uncle, Harold Tickner[/caption]
The house in Cambridge Road, Harrow, where Harold Tickner lived and which was at the centre of a dispute over his fortune[/caption]
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