Godmanchester woman forged partner’s will

A MOTHER-OF-THREE tried to con a family out of their inheritance worth “hundreds of thousands of pounds” by forging her dead partner’s will.

A MOTHER-OF-THREE tried to con a family out of their inheritance worth “hundreds of thousands of pounds” by forging her dead partner’s will.

Karen Philips used her laptop to create the false document after boyfriend Stephen Chambers died earlier this year.

Suspicions were raised when she tried to pass the will off as legitimate at solicitors Medlicot and Benson.

Philips, of Crowhill, Godmanchester, appeared in Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (June 23) pleading guilty to the charge of fraud by false representation, under the 2006 Fraud Act.

Magistrates ruled she should be sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court because the crime was so serious, potentially involving an estate worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. The exact amount has yet to be disclosed.

Mr Chambers, of Ouse Valley Way, Buckden, had been staying with Philips, 45, on January 23 when he died, unexpectedly, on her sofa.

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A few weeks later a will, purporting to be that of Mr Chambers, was presented to solicitors by Ann Howarth, the defendant’s mother, bequeathing the entire estate to Philips.

The document had also been witnessed by Ms Howarth and one of Philips’s friends, Lucy Smith.

The court was told Philips initially denied the charge of fraud when she was arrested.

But John Nooijen, prosecuting, said that after being released on unconditional bail she later changed her plea to guilty when police seized her laptop.

She confessed to creating the will on the laptop, printing it out and getting both witnesses to sign it before submitting it to her solicitor.

“She continued to stress that these would have been the wishes of the deceased,” said Mr Nooijen.

Outside of court, Mr Chambers’s brother Mark explained how hard it was for the family to accept that the contents of the fraudulent will were his brother’s last words.

“We had to wait over a month before the family could even see the will, and then it was by way of a solicitor’s letter.

“It didn’t name his children individually and had no personal message or words for any of them. We decided to challenge the will, which made things so much worse.

“We couldn’t focus on burying Stephen because we also had to deal with lawyers at an extremely emotional time.

Mr Chambers’s sister, Tricia, told The Hunts Post: “This whole situation has caused so much anguish and stress because it’s taken so long getting to the stage when we can think about closure.

“We knew we wanted to be at court – to see justice being done and to represent Steve as a family. My stomach was churning over the whole thing.”