British property developer Carol Ainscow’s death has left her lesbian ex-partner Helen Roocroft with some unanswered questions in the midst of a shocking financial revelation. When the pair elected to dissolve their civil partnership in 2010, the wealthy entrepreneur told Roocroft that her fortune had been reduced to £750,000 due to the recession. However, Ainscow’s death in 2013 has revealed millions of dollars worth of assets that her ex-partner was unaware of at the time of their split.
Ainscow died at age 55 of a brain tumour more than a year ago, but Roocroft only recently received permission to appeal the settlement and fight for a larger piece of her ex-partner’s estate. Not only is this case the first of its kind as a lesbian ‘divorce’ to reach the Court of Appeal, it is the believed to be the first time a deceased spouse has been accused of hiding assets posthumously.
Last year, a county judge refused 40-year-old Roocroft’s request to reopen her case against Ainscow’s estate. However, Lady Justice Black overturned that ruling in support of Roocroft’s claim that she was misled during the breakup. “’It was Ms Ainscow’s duty to make full and fair disclosure, not only so Ms Roocroft could evaluate her claim and decide upon how to proceed with it, but also so the court could exercise its discretion,” said the judge.
Since Ainscow’s death revealed millions in hidden assets that were not noted when they dissolved their partnership, Roocroft is seeking a much larger settlement than the £162,000 she had originally accepted. However, Roocroft’s appeal is likely to be contested, as Ainscow did not leave a will and her mother was awarded her full estate.
Roocroft and Ainscow were in a relationship for 19 years before dissolving their civil partnership just 3 years before Ainscow’s death. Ainscow’s financial success stemmed from her role as a property developer in Manchester’s gay village.