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British killer sues for victims’ estate

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Independent Newspapers

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London -

A British father who stabbed his partner and six-year-old son to death has launched a bid to inherit his victims’ estate from behind bars.

Paul Chadwick was detained indefinitely in a secure mental health unit last year after going on a bloody rampage, knifing his son Joseph 25 times and partner Lisa Clay 32 times at their home.

But now the deranged 35-year-old killer is trying to get his hands on his victim’s £200 000 estate using a legal loophole reserved for victims of domestic violence.

On Wednesday Clay’s grieving family said they were “sickened” and ‘stunned’ after the paranoid schizophrenic lodged papers at the High Court demanding access to the £150 000 semi-detached home he shared with his 40-year-old partner in Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire, his son’s £30 000 trust fund, and £16 000 in joint bank accounts.

To add further insult, he is demanding that his victim’s aunts, uncles and cousins, who stand to inherit the estate, foot the bill for his legal costs.

If successful, the test case could set a precedent for other killers to make claims on the grounds their mental health was impaired at the time.

On Wednesday Clay’s family said in a statement: “He robbed them of their lives, their futures, and now he wants to take their money. The thought that Lisa’s killer can profit from his crime is too appalling for words.”

The relatives, who do not want to be named, have been forced to raid savings to fight the killer’s case.

British law states that those convicted of murder or manslaughter cannot inherit from their victims or profit in any way from their crimes. But under the Forfeiture Act of 1982, a clause allows the rules to be bent due to exceptional circumstances in the conduct of the offender or deceased.

For example, if a battered wife who has suffered years of violence at the hands of her partner suddenly retaliates and accidentally kills her partner without intending to, they may still be able to inherit his estate.

Chadwick, who is being held at a secure hospital in Preston, lodged the High Court claim just three months after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility last September. The landscape gardener, who had been due to visit a psychiatrist on the day of the killing on April 9 last year, had been charged with murder.

Mr Justice King handed him an “unlimited” restriction order, which means he will only be released on the consent of the Secretary of State.

But Chadwick has managed to contact lawyers who lodged a claim arguing that because he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out the attack he is still entitled to the assets and house bought by Clay because he was the beneficiary of her will.

Keith Etherington, of Slater & Gordon, who is representing Clay’s family, said: “We do not believe the law was written to allow people like Paul Chadwick to benefit from his crime.” - Daily Mail


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