The prospect of legal action over the St Lucia estate of the late Lord Glenconner edged dramatically closer last night with a formal challenge to the colourful peer’s will, Richard Kay reports in London’s Daily Mail.
It comes as the once-penniless manservant who inherited his Caribbean home prepares to sell 27 priceless acres in St Lucia to property developers.
Glenconner’s one-time landlord, who had been locked in a legal battle with him for 15 years, has upped the stakes in a letter to his former Man Friday, Kent Adonai, claiming that seven acres overlooking the sea should never have formed part of the estate.
Michael Jacques, 54, works as a tai chi teacher in London and is the owner of a house near the contested land.
He insists that Glenconner, 83, who lived on the island for more than 20 years, took control of land which did not belong to him.
Jacques says he was approached by the peer, a close friend of Princess Margaret, in 1989, wanting to rent his house while he was renovating his own property. He also wanted to buy some land. Jacques agreed to rent the house and to sell a single acre of land.
In his letter Jacques states: ‘I am writing to formally challenge the will. My challenge is on the basis that at the time the will was written, Lord Glenconner had still not settled the land dispute and the dispute over damage caused to my property.’
He goes on: ‘I hope we can reach an amicable agreement over this matter which is long-standing. I believe you will be honest and sincere in your consideration.’
Failing that, he says, he will ‘seek redress for the return of my property and reparation for the damage caused’. That damage, he says, came about because Glenconner allowed the house he rented to fall into disrepair.
Jacques’ letter comes a month after Adonai held a £1 million sale at Bonham’s in London of the contents of his former employer’s house.
As I revealed, Kent subsequently decided to ‘do the right thing’ and gave Glenconner’s grandson and heir, Cody, 17, £200,000, the proceeds of a single lot at the auction.