Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43
According to recent press reports, a high-flying accountant
forged his dead mother's will to take control of a share in his family's
£160million palm oil business.
Girish Dahyabhai Patel, 65, from Highgate in north London,
used a blank document, pre-signed by his 'astute and devout' mother, before
adding a will around it.
He did this in order to get
hold of her shares and thus control over a £40million stake in the
family's plantation in Malaysia.
Expert evidence was crucial with Mr Patel being caught out by minute forensic analysis, which
revealed the faint indentation of her signature elsewhere on the paper.
It indicated she had signed the sheet while putting her name
to several blank documents, one on top of the other, for use in the
At the High Court in London, Judge Andrew Simmonds QC found
the will to be a forgery, meaning a previous will - leaving everything to
his brother Yashwant - will stand.
In a case like this you look at the overall evidence but
expert evidence is often the key factor.
And so it has come to pass here.
Analysis of the purported will backed up what brother Yashwant had claimed, namely of a practice within the family,
whereby blank documents were signed in bulk, so business could be conducted in
the absence of others.
Under the microscope, an expert found on the 2005 document
the indentation on the page of another signature of Mrs Patel's nearby.
Tests also showed specks of printer ink on top of the
signature, but none underneath, suggesting the signature came before the
The Judge had a real go at the accountant too
calling him a self-confessed liar.
Where he will get clobbered apart from reputation is on
Girish Patel agreed to pay £450,000 on account of his
brother's total legal costs, estimated at £550,000. His own costs are
estimated at almost £750,000.
This case would have been stressful for everyone and the judge is put on the spot too.