Son of 7/7 victim sues mother for spending compensation

When families go to court over money


Adam Gray

Adam Gray was only 11 when his father was killed in the London terrorist attacks on 7/7/2005. His mother received £250,000 compensation immediately, and when he turned 18 he received another £50,000. He gave it to his mother to look after, but within two years she had spent the lot.

After failing to get her to pay the money back, he took her to court for the cash.

Richard Gray, a 41-year-old tax expert, was one of the seven passengers who died on the Circle Line at Aldgate station that day. The Criminal Injuries Authority awarded payouts to Adam Gray, his mother Louise and his sister (who wishes to remain anonymous).

On turning 18 and receiving the money, Adam asked his mother to take care of it, but two years later when he asked for some cash in order to fund an apprenticeship, she admitted she had spent it. He told The Sunday People that her compensation payout had given her a taste for lavish spending including buying five new cars and seven chihuahua dogs, dinner at the Ritz and a hot tub. She argued that she had spent her compensation payout on luxuries, but his money had gone on urgent essentials.

The court ruled that she will have to repay £43,750: she is appealing the ruling. The Daily Mail reported that she said: "The judge says I have to pay it all back straight away but I can't, so that's why I'm appealing."

Both mother and son appear devastated by what has happened. Adam said first he lost his father in terrible circumstances, now being betrayed by his mother meant he has lost her too. She, in turn, said she was desperate to apologise and explain to him.

It's an awful thing to happen to any family, but sadly family rows over money are all-to-common.

Family rifts

Back in May a farmer's daughter took her parents to court after hearing they had changed their will to leave the farm to all three of their daughters. She had been promised the farm in return for working there for little or no pay, and the court ruled that she was entitled to more of a share. The court also noted that "The bitterness between the parties was such that each had few, if any, good words to say about the other."

Over in Australia in February a judge criticised a 46-year-old man who had sued his mother for a share in his grandfather's $5.5 million estate. The agreement was that after her death she would leave both her sons a share of what was left - however, they were unwilling to wait for her to die, so sued for their share. One son settled but the other went to court where he was awarded an annual payment from the estate, and the judge criticised him for his "highly developed and unhealthy sense of entitlement".

And in Canada in February an elderly woman who had spent 12 years trying to sue her adult children for financial support finally lost her legal battle. The woman from British Columbia had reportedly abandoned her five children during their teenage years, but as she got older she decided to sue them for financial support. She won $10 a month from each child, but sued again for more money. She eventually dropped the lawsuit against one child and another died at the age of 52. A judge dismissed her claims against the other three and ruled that she should pay their costs.

But not all of these fights end with a rift. A New Jersey teenager tried to sue her parents in March to enable her to live apart from them but still have them pay her school fees. After being reprimanded by the judge for her attitude and having her request for emergency funds refused, she dropped case and moved home.