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Ex-partner of late entrepreneur seeks bigger settlement in civil partnership dissolution

Joseph McCormick January 31, 2015
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The former civil partner of a property developer who hid her wealth has taken her fight for a bigger divorce settlement to the Court of Appeal.

Helen Roocroft claims her ex-partner Carol Ainscow hid millions of pounds when they dissolved their civil partnership.

Roocroft claims that Ainscow, who died aged 55 in 2013, and who was a property developer in London’s Soho and Manchester’s gay village, said she was worth £750,000, when accounts really showed the figure to be closer to £6 million.

The Court of Appeal heard that Roocroft felt she was misled into accepting £162,000 as a settlement when the 19-year relationship broke down, an amount she deemed “modest”.

She has requested that the case be reopened, despite that Ainscow passed away in 2013, and the case is being considered the first of its kind to reach the Court of Appeal.

Lady Justice Black granted Roocroft permission to appeal in what has been called a unique case because of the circumstances surrounding the claim.

“The complication of the death of Ms Ainscow is significant,” said the judge. “I’m not aware of a similar case where the non-disclosure has been acted upon following death of the other party.”

The appeal is expected to be contested given that Ainscow died without a will, and her mother was awarded her full estate.

During the 1990s, Ainscow developed properties in Manchester’s Canal Street, helping to establish what is now known as the gay village.

The couple entered a civil partnership in 2008, but separated the following year, and the union was dissolved in 2010.

Roocroft applied for financial relief and maintenance at the time, estimating Ainscow’s wealth at £30 million, but she claimed that her business had been badly affected by the recession, and that she was only worth £750,000.

More: Justice Black

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