Former West End showgirl, 92, is locked in a bitter court battle with her own son who claims she forged her husband’s will to keep his £8million fortune
- Former West End dancer Jobyna Watts faces a legal row with her son, Carlton
- She accused of forging her late husband Eustace Watts’ will to inherit all £8m
- Eustace was a ‘Calypso king’ in the 1950s and ’60s but he died in 2008, aged 92
- Carlton, 64, was left without a penny and has taken his mother to the High Court
- Mrs Watts denies forging the will, saying her son’s action are driven by ‘spite’
A 92-year-old former West End cabaret star is at war in court with her own son over claims she forged her husband’s will to scoop his £8million fortune.
Former ‘Windmill girl’ Jobyna Watts inherited her husband Eustace Watts’s estate when he died in 2008, leaving their son, Carlton without a penny in his will – sparking a bitter legal clash between the pair.
Carlton, 64, has now hauled his ageing mother to the High Court in a challenge to Eustace’s will made in 2000, insisting from the witness box that she has ‘defrauded my father’s estate’.
But Mrs Watts insists her son’s claims are motivated by ‘animosity and spite’ with the pensioner’s barrister telling a judge: ‘This isn’t how she should be spending her golden years.’
Eustace was renowned as a ‘Calypso king’, an expression used to celebrate the top artists of the Caribbean-inspired genre of music, which had a boom in popularity in Britain during the 1950s.
Jobyna Watts, 92, inherited her late husband’s £8million fortune and insists her son’s claims she forged her Mr Watts’s will are motivated by ‘animosity and spite’ with her. Mrs Watts is pictured outside the High Court
Carlton Watts, 64, has hauled his ageing mother to court in a challenge to his father Eustace’s will made in 2000, insisting that she has ‘defrauded my father’s estate’. He is pictured arriving at London’s High Court
Dancer Mrs Watts made her name in the wake of the Second World War, becoming an established figure at the legendary Windmill Theatre in London’s West End, which was famed for its shapely and often scantily-clad dancers.
She was acclaimed for her energetic style of dance, which involved tambourine and tap, and later went on to form a double act – ‘Ricardo and Jobyna’ – with musician Eustace, who used the stage name Peter Ricardo.
The couple were married in 1955, with Mrs Watts becoming his second wife, eventually settling in Hounslow, west London.
Singer-songwriter Eustace enjoyed a colourful and successful life despite a tough start, having been orphaned as a child in Grenada.
He was adopted by an English judge and taught to read music and play piano and guitar, before heading off to sea, but jumping ship in Southampton in the 1930s.
He then started a calypso band and began writing his own music, releasing an album Hi-fi Calypso in 1957, but drifting off from his musical career in the 1960s.
Jobyna Watts inherited her Calypso king husband Eustace Watts’s estate when he died in 2008, leaving their son, Carlton without a penny in his will. Eustace, who was known by his stage name ‘Peter Ricardo’, is pictured on his Hi-Fi Calypso album, left
However, he turned to business, running a hotel and amassing a portfolio of residential and commercial properties in west London, which, although his mother disputes the value, Carlton claims was worth around £8million.
He died at the age of 92 in April 2008, having suffered with cancer and dementia in his later years.
Now his wife and son are fighting over his last will made in 2000, with Carlton suggesting it was a forgery ‘probably prepared after the deceased’s death’ by his mother.
He claims a previous will from 1994 – which split everything equally between himself, his mother and his brother Fraser Watts – was the last true will of his father.
Carlton is questioning the authenticity of witnesses’ signatures and the appearance of the writing on the will.
His barrister, Justin Holmes, highlighted evidence from a forensic expert who analysed the handwriting and raised concerns that the ‘pen pressure’ of the solicitor’s and witness’ signatures were surprisingly similar.
Mr Holmes also claimed the ‘angle of letter formation’ on Eustace’s signature was markedly similar to Mrs Watts’ signature, and said evidence also suggested that the 2000 will may have been created by ‘tracing’ the solicitor and witness’ signatures from another Watts family will prepared in the same year.
Defence lawyers, however, say the allegations of forgery are completely groundless.
Mrs Watts’ barrister Matthew Tonnard said Carlton had been well provided for by his parents and lived with them as an adult until he was ‘gifted’ his own home by Eustace – but now had his ‘mind set’ against his mother.
He had once prompted a police investigation into his mother, although she was cleared of any wrongdoing, and had been questioning the will since 2009.
Motivated by ‘spite and animosity’, he had even gone on to place a sign outside his house, which stated: ‘Jobyna Watts forged her husband’s will and stole his money.’
From the witness box, Carlton, a former driving instructor and now a data analyst, said he had enjoyed a ‘reasonable relationship’ with his mother ‘until I started questioning her actions’.
‘But from that point on, I would say she stopped communicating with me completely,’ he told the court.
Dancer Mrs Watts, pictured when she was younger, made her name in the wake of the Second World War, becoming an established figure at the legendary Windmill Theatre in London’s West End
He denied that his case was motivated by malice, insisting: ‘I don’t have any animosity towards her.’
But Mr Tonnard put to him: ‘I suggest there’s no truth in any of this, you are simply looking for some way to establish an entitlement to this estate.’
Denying the claim, Carlton told the court: ‘No, I have tried to expose the fact that my mother manipulated documents in order to defraud the estate.’
Mrs Watts insists the document is her husband’s ‘last true will’, but claims that in any event she owns her husband’s assets because they were jointly held between them.
She says she knows nothing about the alleged 1994 will and is demanding that Carlton prove it ever existed.
She has also challenged the £8million valuation her son puts on the estate, suggesting his fortune at the time of his death was nearer £1.1million and jointly owned.
After a day in court the judge – Master Julia Clark – adjourned the case to another date for further evidence to be heard.
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