Ex West End showgirl, 92, who is accused of forging her dead husband’s signature to cut her own son out of his £8m fortune says claims are ‘categorically untrue’ during bitter court fight

  • 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

A former West End cabaret star aged 92 has denied forging her dead husband’s signature during an £8million inheritance court fight with her son.

Jobyna Watts inherited her Calypso king husband Eustace Watts’ estate when he died in 2008, leaving their son, Carlton, without a penny from his dad’s will.

Carlton took his frail former ‘Windmill girl’ mother to court in a challenge to Mr Watts’ 2000 will, insisting she had ‘defrauded his father’s estate.’

He claims his mother forged his dad’s signature – or had someone else do so – to make the will, overriding Mr Watts’ true intention that his son should get a third of his wealth when he died.

But Mrs Watts giving evidence in the witness box, denied that the will was ‘fabricated’ by her or anyone else under her orders.

Jobyna Watts, 92, inherited her late husband’s £8million fortune and says that her son’s claimsare motivated by ‘animosity and spite’

Carlton Watts, 64, took his mother to court to challenge his father Eustace’s will made in 2000

‘That is untrue, completely untrue,’ she told the judge, Master Julia Clark 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 revue 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.

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 

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 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.

However, he turned to business, running a hotel and amassing a portfolio of residential and commercial properties in west London, which – although his mum disputes the value – Carlton claims was worth around £8m.

He died at the age of 92 in April 2008, having suffered with cancer and dementia in his later years.

But his death has led to a bitter fight between mum and son, who have for decades lived next door to each other in Alexandra Road, Hounslow, west London.

Carlton, a former driving instructor and now data analyst, claims a previous will from 1994 – which split everything equally between himself, his mum and his brother Fraser Watts – was the last true will of his father.

He is also questioning the authenticity of signatures on the 2000 will, with his barrister Justin Holmes highlighting evidence from a forensic expert who 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 disputed will may have been created by ‘tracing’ the solicitor and witness’ signatures from another Watts family will prepared in 2000.

Mrs Watts insists her son’s claims are motivated by ‘animosity and spite,’ with her barrister Matthew Tonnard telling the judge: ‘This isn’t how she should be spending her golden years’.

From the witness box, she told the judge that, now in old age, she had ‘absolutely no memory’ of wills made in 1988 and 1994, which Carlton claims made provision for him as well as her.

But she denied that she or anyone else had ‘forged’ her husband’s signature on the will dated 2000 in order to cut Carlton out of an inheritance.

‘At some point after 1994, you fabricated or had someone help you fabricate a will, which you signed or got someone to help you sign, as if they were your husband,’ her son’s barrister, Justin Holmes, put to her.

‘Is that right or wrong?’ he asked, to which she replied, ‘no.’

He pressed her: ‘You forged it because you didn’t want Carlton to benefit, as he would have done under the 1994 will.’

But she again denied any wrongdoing, stating emphatically: ‘That is untrue, completely untrue.’

Cross-examining her about her husband’s health in his later years, Mr Holmes questioned Mrs Watts’ credibility by pointing to evidence in which she said her husband was still making financial decisions in the year before he died.

Contrary to that, medical records suggested he had ‘severe’ dementia at the time, said the barrister.

But Mrs Watts said the notes were an ‘exaggeration’ of the situation, describing his succumbing to dementia as ‘very gradual.’

‘I was with him all the time, he wasn’t nearly as bad as is suggested,’ she told the judge.

The barrister said the discrepancy in descriptions of Eustace’s state were relevant to the judge’s ultimate view on whether Mrs Watts had also told the truth about the will.

Earlier, Mrs Watts’ barrister Matthew Tonnard claimed that Carlton’s case was motivated by ‘spite and animosity’ towards his mum. He had even at one point erected a sign outside his house, which stated: ‘Jobyna Watts forged her husband’s will and stole his money’.

However, Mrs Watts insists that the 2000 document is her husband’s ‘last true will’ and claims that in any event she owns her husband’s assets lock, stock and barrel 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 £8m valuation her son puts on the estate, suggesting the family fortune at the time of his death was nearer £1.1m and jointly owned.

The judge will give her ruling on the case at a later date.

Source: Read Full Article