July 6, 2016

Woman in landmark legal battle over property developer’s fortune

Helen Roocroft has argued that her ex-partner, Carol Ann Ainscow, had concealed her true wealth when the couple dissolved their civil partnership in 2010.

Ms Ainscow, who passed away three years ago, following a battle with cancer, had worked on a number of significant developments – including the project to revive Manchester’s Canal Street.

But it is alleged that the businesswoman had suggested at the time of the split that she was worth around £750,000 – a fraction of her true fortune.

As part of the financial settlement which followed the end of their long-standing relationship, Ms Roocroft had accepted a sum of just £162,000.

When details later came to light about how much the property developer had actually been worth, the 42-year-old took the decision to go back to the court and seek to have the original settlement re-examined.

The case is one of several “non-disclosure” hearings currently making their way through the courts, with a number of individuals having argued that their ex-partner had not been open about their assets, meaning that they ended up accepting a smaller settlement than they may have otherwise expected.

The case being brought by Ms Roocroft is unusual because she had been in a civil partnership as opposed to a marriage and because Ms Ainscow has since died.

Judges had already decided there was a public interest in considering the case and a hearing is taking place this week. The Court of Appeal is expected to make a ruling at a later date.

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