Family At War Over Who Inherits £300,000 Home

A family is at war over a £300,000 legal battle in a bid to win the home of their parents who tragically died from exposure to the cold.

John and Ann Scarle both died from hypothermia in their Leigh-on-Sea, Essex , home in October 2016.

Exactly why and when they died is a mystery, but they have left their children battling to take over their home.

Both parents had a child from a previous marriage.

The row is over which parent dies first.

Mystery over who died first

Anna Winter, who is Mr Scarle’s daughter, argues her father probably died last because he was the fittest of the couple.

The other step sister, Deborah Cutler believes no one can determine beyond doubt which of the couple died first.

A High Court judge must make a decision based on a 94-year-old law dating from the Second World War.

The Law of Property Act 1925 was last called upon when a family was wiped out in their home by a German bomb. Because no one knew the order in which the family died, the court decided the order of succession under a ‘legal presumption’.

This is important because whichever of the Scarle’s is ruled to have died last would have owned the home, so their family is in line to inherit the property.

That could mean Mr Scarle is presumed to have died first as he was the oldest of the pair at 79 years old, but Mrs Scarle was infirm following a stroke.

Tragic deaths

Mr Scarle was the last of the couple seen alive by neighbours around October 4, 2016, when he told them he was readying the car to go out with his wife.

They were not seen again. Worried neighbours contacted the police a week later. After breaking in the house was found in disarray and the couple were dead.

Although a burglary is suspected, both died from natural causes.

The family and police believe one of the couple was alive on October 11, as a 26thwedding anniversary card from Mrs Scarle to her husband was found opened.

The judge, Philip Kramer, has yet to make a ruling.

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