A woman in the Republic of Ireland has claimed her two step-children sold their former family home using a death certificate of someone with the same name.
Maureen Moore (71), Laburnum Square, North Road, Drogheda, Co Louth, claims her step-children, John and Maria Moore, obtained the cert while she was living abroad in order to sell the house at Mount Tallant Avenue, Harold's Cross, Dublin, for €254,000 almost eight years ago.
Her husband and their father, John Moore senior, died intestate in 1996, some 15 years after she had left him because of his alleged violent behaviour, the High Court heard yesterday.
In her proceedings, Mrs Moore says John junior, a company director of Woodstock Park, Knocklyon, and Maria, a hairdresser of Oakdale Crescent, Ballycullen, both Dublin, unjustly and fraudulently enriched themselves by selling the property.
Mrs Moore has also sued Nadine Chetty, who bought the house in October 2002.
John and Maria Moore deny they were guilty of fraud or that they ought to have known the death certificate was not that of Mrs Moore. They argue the claim is statute barred and that her rights to an interest in the house have been extinguished.
They also dispute that Mrs Moore was married to their father and say she left the house in 1981 and discontinued possession of the property having been out of occupation for more than 12 years.
John senior was in sole and beneficial occupation of the property before his death, they say. The purchaser of the house, Ms Chetty, also denies the transaction was wrongful.
Mrs Moore wants declarations from the court that following John senior's death, she was entitled to be the registered full owner of the house.
She is also seeking declarations that her husband's children wrongfully converted the title deeds of the property for their own use and benefit and that they did not pass good title to Ms Chetty.
She also wants the court to declare that Ms Chetty, who currently lives in the Middle East, has no interest in the property and an order requiring her to deliver up possession of the property to Mrs Moore.
Opening the case, James Dwyer, for Mrs Moore, said when she married Mr Moore in 1971 he had two young children from a previous marriage, who she looked after.
John senior was "not a pleasant man" and "was violent towards Maureen", Mr Dwyer said.
She obtained the deserted wife's allowance in 1986, but two years later moved to Belgium. In 2002, she returned to Ireland, suffering from poor health, to discover her husband was dead and the house had been "fraudulently sold" by his two children, the court heard.
She also discovered that a death certificate had been obtained in 2001 by the Moore children for a Maureen Moore, with an address at Kilmacud, Dublin, counsel said. That Maureen Moore died in 1995.
That certificate, Mr Dwyer said, was to defeat her title to the house so the children could sell it on for financial gain.
However, they failed to make even a rudimentary check to see if their stepmother was still alive, he said.
Counsel said that while Ms Chetty had no hand, act or part in what happened, it was their case that it was obvious to those handling the sale of the property on her behalf that there was a problem.
The case before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy continues.
Source Irish Independent