Friday, March 16, 2018

Pilot faces £600,000 bill after losing 16-year legal fight with ex-wife to prove their daughter isn’t his

“Utter folly”: Richard Wilmot, who was warned by his lawyers that the case could bankrupt him.

A former British Airways captain is facing a £600,000 bill and possible financial ruin after losing a 16-year legal fight over the paternity of his child. 

Richard Wilmot, 62, had claimed his daughter with his third wife, Viki Maughan, was fathered by a lover she was secretly seeing before their divorce.

For years he refused to pay child maintenance as agreed in their divorce settlement because he was “absolutely convinced” that he was not the father. 

At the High Court, however, Mr. Justice Mostyn condemned the former British Airways pilot for his “utter folly”, ruling that his paternity was “beyond any doubt at all”. 

The judge has ordered that Captain Wilmot’s assets, including his pension, bank account and properties, should be seized until he settles the six-figure bill of back maintenance and legal costs. 

Mr. Justice Mostyn said in the ruling that a new DNA test has “concluded that the probability that Captain Wilmot was the true father of the child was 99.999999 percent”.

This “demonstrates beyond any doubt at all that [he] is the father”, the judge added. 

Captain Wilmot, who was warned by his own lawyers that “this case could bankrupt you”, must pay almost £25,000 for his daughter’s university education and about £115,000 in back maintenance. That is dwarfed, though, by the “astonishing” £290,000 in legal costs. 

When this sum is added to other court bills and the costs of a receiver who has been working to recover the funds for Ms Maughan, it brings the total to £593,598.

Captain Wilmot maintained during the legal fight, thought to be Britain’s longest divorce battle, that a 2000 DNA test concluding he was the father was “obtained by fraud”, and that his daughter’s birth certificate was a forgery. 

Viki Maughan

The couple’s decree absolute was granted in 2001 but they have been fighting over the settlement and maintenance ever since.

At a hearing last July, he admitted the court tussle was “ghastly” when called to explain why he had been ignoring court documents that had been sent to him. 

While together, Ms. Maughan, 50, and Captain Wilmot shared an £800,000 country home in Cranbrook, Kent. They separated in the late Nineties. The pilot, now flying for Turkish Airlines, has since remarried. He has another country home in Alcombe, Somerset, a £500,000 18th-century listed house in Dunster, Somerset, and another property on the Isle of Man.

The ruling in the case was given in January but only made public this week. Mr Justice Mostyn noted that almost £400,000 has already been recovered on Ms Maughan’s behalf, but Captain Wilmot’s assets, including property, will remain frozen until the final bill is paid. The judge added: “The amount of costs is nearly three times as much as the amount of child maintenance, which shows the utter folly of the course of action adopted by Captain Wilmot.”

Original article can be found here ➤

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