Pair deny plot to con ac­tress into leav­ing them £1m

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

SUR­ROUNDED BY tan­gled lob­ster pots, wrecked by one of the worst storms he has seen, the skip­per of the coble Mark Col­man is sur­vey­ing the dam­age.

Hornsea’s fleet of 10 boats is count­ing the cost of the af­ter­math of the Beast from the East. The fu­ri­ous east­erly winds com­bined with big tides and plum­met­ing tem­per­a­tures threw out mil­lions of dead and dy­ing sea crea­tures on to the beaches of York­shire’s coast­line.

As well as hurl­ing a five-tonne marker buoy on to the beach, the storm caused tens of thou­sands of pounds of dam­age to pots as they broke free, got en­tan­gled, chafed ropes and tore off their “doors”.

“It was dis­tress­ing see­ing the berried lob­sters ly­ing on the beach dead,” says Mr Col­man.

Away from the seashore, how­ever, thoughts are fo­cussed more on fix­ing the dam­age be­ing done to the town’s re­main­ing ser­vices. Hornsea’s mi­nor in­juries unit closed on April 3 and its last two banks, NatWest and Lloyds, on main shop­ping street New­be­gin, will shut within a week of each other in June.

For many of the town’s older res­i­dents – some of whom can­not drive – it is bleak sit­u­a­tion. The near­est NatWest will be in Beverley, 13 miles away, while the near­est Lloyds is in Hull, 14 miles away, and a long trip by bus.

A steady stream of cus­tomers com­ing into the green­gro­cers on New­be­gin agree with its owner Paul Brown that the turn of events is “ap­palling” and “dis­gust­ing”.

Lloyds plans to in­tro­duce a mo­bile bank van ser­vice, while the lo­cal Post Of­fice will have ba­sic bank­ing ser­vices. But as the woman who does the bank­ing for the mu­seum op­po­site points out, it will not be the same.

“Lloyds does de­ferred bank­ing – you can give them a great bag of coins and they will count it out, but they don’t at the Post Of­fice. You will have to stand there till they count it with peo­ple tut­ting and stamp­ing their feet.”

Re­tired teacher Gil­lian Dann, who came into Hornsea to shop from Leven, says it is a “very short-sighted, back­wards step” and part of the re­lent­less chip­ping away of the so­cial struc­ture which is pro­vided by an old-fash­ioned High Street.

“I’ve been to Tesco, but I al­ways come here be­cause of the so­cial side as much as any­thing else,” she says.

Just around the corner at the not-for-profit Kelpies Whole­food shop, how­ever, talk is far from de­spair. Peo­ple there re­mind vis­i­tors that when East Rid­ing Coun­cil wanted to close Hornsea Flo­ral Hall, cit­ing £100,000-a-year losses, lo­cals ral­lied round and it is now thriv­ing.

Paul Han­son, a founder of Home Grown Hornsea, an or­gan­i­sa­tion aimed at mak­ing the town more sus­tain­able and sel­f­re­liant, said: “In a way, all th­ese clo­sures I see as an op­por­tu­nity. It is clear small towns are not go­ing to get things done for us. If we want some­thing, we have to sort it out for our­selves.”

The town is now ral­ly­ing around to set up a first aid post, run by a re­tired nurse and manned by vol­un­teers, in a mo­bile unit out­side Tesco. Mean­while, Mr Han­son is work­ing on plans for a credit union, a non-profit-mak­ing co­op­er­a­tive whose mem­bers can bor­row from pooled de­posits at low in­ter­est rates.

“The only down­side is that the credit union doesn’t have the same ca­pac­ity as banks,” Mr Han­son added.

East Rid­ing Coun­cil wants to close the li­brary and cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tre on New­be­gin, and the re­source cen­tre on Rail­way Street, and move them into a newly re­vamped Leisure Cen­tre on the seafront. Some lo­cals feel that more empty build­ings on New­be­gin – al­ready hit by the banks shut­ting – will be an­other blow to foot­fall.

But Mr Han­son be­lieves this too could present an­other op­por­tu­nity – with the li­brary, or re­source cen­tre, be­com­ing a new com­mu­nity cen­tre and home for the credit union.

And mayor Anne Pad­gett, who is hav­ing a cof­fee at the Flo­ral Hall’s cafe, is sim­i­larly up­beat.

She said: “We have to fight back – we have ab­so­lutely no choice. What I like about the credit union is that it is run by vol­un­teers. They care about the com­mu­nity. If you don’t do it your­self you are not go­ing to get any­where. The big or­gan­i­sa­tions couldn’t care less.” TWO MEN plot­ted and conned an ac­tress into leav­ing them her en­tire es­tate in her will, a court has been told.

Claire Gor­don, who was once billed as “Bri­tain’s an­swer to Brigitte Bar­dot”, had an es­tate worth nearly £1m when she died in April 2015 aged 74, South­wark Crown Court in Lon­don heard.

Her ca­reer spanned the 1950s to the 1970s.

Iain MacMaster, 70, of Fitzrovia, west Lon­don, and Mor­ris Ben­hamu, 42, of Hen­don, north­west Lon­don, each deny a charge of con­spir­acy to de­fraud and fraud.

It is al­leged they worked to­gether to de­fraud Ms Gor­don and her rel­a­tives as her right­ful ben­e­fi­cia­ries of her en­tire es­tate by falsely claim­ing she in­tended them to have it.

Prose­cu­tor Mark Halsey told the jury that Ms Gor­don’s es­tate was worth £904,839 and that al­though she did not have chil­dren, she had cousins and a muchloved god­daugh­ter who may have thought they were in line for a share.

Both men are charged with fraud by try­ing to make a gain for them­selves and in dis­hon­estly in­tend­ing to cause loss to an­other by a false rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

It is al­leged they falsely rep­re­sented that Ms Gor­don was in “a fit and proper state” to sign a will in her name in Novem­ber 2014 and that she “gen­uinely in­tended to be­queath the whole of her es­tate” to them.

Mr Halsey re­counted high­lights of her ca­reer which ap­peared in her obit­u­ary in

news­pa­per. He said: “Spot­ted by a pho­tog­ra­pher at the age of 16, Claire Gor­don was signed to a five-year film con­tract by an in­dus­try keen to find new star­lets to com­pete with Hol­ly­wood.”

The hear­ing con­tin­ues.

Hornsea fish­er­man Mark Col­man is count­ing the cost of weather con­di­tions which caused havoc on the coast, but Hornsea has prob­lems away from the seashore.

Top, Paul Han­son of Home Grown Horsea, who sees clo­sures as an op­por­tu­nity for towns­folk to solve their own prob­lems; the Flo­ral Hall Cafe, where mayor Anne Pad­gett spoke of fight­ing back.

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