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Woman at centre of will wrangle goes into hiding

A County Antrim woman at the centre of a legal wrangle over an elderly farmer’s estate has gone into hiding.

Anne Mulholland (49) was thrust into the media spotlight earlier this week when Belfast High Court awarded her £250,000 from her elderly lover’s estate.

The 49-year-old former factory machinist had a 30-year relationship with sheep farmer Seamus Kane and had lived at his remote 490-acre property on the Ballyvennaught Road outside Ballycastle for much of that time.

But the relationship, which began when she was aged 16 and he was a bachelor in his early 40s, was never publicly acknowledged for fear that others would have regarded the couple as ‘living in sin’.

The court was told how Mr Kane had promised his young partner, who helped out on the farm, would always have a roof over her head. But when he died in 2004 without leaving a will his £800,000 estate went to his brother and sister.

It is understood Miss Mulholland was reluctant to take a case against her partner’s relatives but felt compelled to do so when a paltry settlement was offered. It is believed she was surprised by the huge sum granted by Mr Justice Deeney.

It is not known whether Maureen or John Kane will contest the judge’s decision.

Meanwhile in the close-knit Ballycastle community yesterday locals were keeping tight-lipped about the affair. Neighbours at Miss Mulholland’s new home in Drumawillan Park were reluctant to comment on the situation. However off the record most agreed that she deserved some sort of recognition for her devotion.

One woman, who declined to be named, said: “It’s very sad. She’s a very private person. We can’t believe this is all in the papers.”

The Belfast Telegraph called at Miss Mulholland’s new home yesterday but there was little sign of life. Her car was outside the bungalow but the blinds were drawn and windows closed.

</>\[Chris Cairns\]Meanwhile at her brother’s home, just outside Ballycastle, he said there had been a lot of media interest in his sister but said she did not want to speak about things.

“Anne took this case on her own. I don’t think she will want to speak,” he said.

Miss Mulholland’s solicitor, Brendan McLernon dismissed claims that the case had made legal history and said his client wanted to maintain her privacy.l Do you have any special memories of Anne Mulholland? Perhaps you went to church or school with her? Share them with our readers by emailing newseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk.

Belfast Telegraph