Woman who says ex-partner 'misrepresented her wealth' relieved by new ruling


A woman who claims that she did not get enough money when an 18-year same-sex relationship ended because a wealthy ex-partner ''misrepresented'' the size of her fortune says she is relieved after winning the latest round of a legal battle.

Helen Roocroft, 42, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, accepted a settlement of around £200,000 after separating from property developer Carol Ainscow in 2009.

But she said Miss Ainscow, who died aged 55 three years ago, ''misrepresented her wealth''.

She took legal action against a representative of Miss Ainscow's estate in the hope of getting more.

Ms Roocroft lost the first round of her fight in a family court two years ago.

But three Court of Appeal judges on Friday ruled in her favour.

Lord Justice Elias, Lord Justice Kitchin and Lady Justice King - who analysed the case at a Court of Appeal hearing in London in July - said issues should now be reconsidered by a High Court judge.

Miss Ainscow's sister, Moya Ball, represented the late businesswoman's estate at the appeal court hearing.

Mrs Ball disputed Ms Roocroft's claim and said there was ''no merit'' in the appeal.

Ms Roocroft said after the appeal court ruling: "I am relieved that we have reached the next step in our legal battle."

A lawyer representing Ms Roocroft suggested that discussions would take place in the hope that both sides could reach agreement on figures.

"This judgment confirms that same-sex couples have the same rights under family law as heterosexual couples," said solicitor Ros Bever, who works for law firm Irwin Mitchell.

"Ms Roocroft now has the opportunity to potentially set aside her original settlement and open discussions on a fair settlement based on the true disclosure of the assets built up during the couple's 18-year relationship."

Appeal judges analysed the case after a Supreme Court ruling about two ex-wives who thought they should get more money after divorcing.

Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil reached agreements with their ex-husbands but subsequently thought they had been misled.

Both said their ex-husbands had not revealed the true extent of their wealth and both wanted their claims re-analysed at fresh hearings.

Their ex-husbands disagreed - but last year Supreme Court justices ruled in favour of the women.

Legal experts had said that ruling could ''open the floodgates''.