Wealthy Knysna widow cleared of charges

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iol news pic justice-scale and gavel may 23 INDEPENDENT MEDIA File picture

Knysna - A series of legal battles between Knysna multimillionaire widow Lesley Young and her former lover following their separation eight years ago have ended after she was acquitted of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Young was accused of hiring nightclub bouncer Errol Kahn and biker Lutz Springborn in 2006 to retrieve a bakkie that she had allowed former lover Ian McDonald, 74, an ex-surfer and mercenary, to use before their split.

The George Regional Court last week found that none of the accused had the intention to steal, which is a precondition for a conviction on charges of robbery and theft.

However, Khan was found guilty of assault and was fined R2 000.

Young, 66, said on Wednesday she was “relieved the ordeal was finally over”.

The couple ended their seven-year relationship in 2006, but a bitter battle followed when McDonald, one of the founders of the former Gunston 500 surf competition, first claimed half of Young’s estimated R35-million estate, but later revised his claim to spousal support and R2m.

The Supreme Court of Appeal had rejected McDonald’s claims, finding that, in the absence of an agreement to that effect, no legal duty of support existed between co-habitees.

McDonald successfully sued Young for defamation relating to allegations that he tried to poison her and for damages suffered when Kahn and Springborn went to retrieve the bakkie at the Garden Route Mall in George on November 24, 2006.

The court ordered Young to pay McDonald R160 000 in damages but on review it was lowered to R30 000.

Garden Route Media

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