Spelling error helps catch out 'cold-hearted' son's will forgery

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A "cold-hearted" son spelt his brother's name wrong in a bungled attempt to forge their mother's will and swindle tens of thousands of pounds.

Stewart Caygill, 53, from Horden, County Durham, had been taking money from his mother Theresa before her death and then made himself the main beneficiary of her estate.

But he was caught out after his brother Philip, 55, took it upon himself to expose the fraud, which included showing his name was spelled with an extra "l" in the fake will.

"It's a huge relief, mainly to have the jury believe me. Initially when I first reported it I wasn't believed by anyone, they just thought it was a family feud," Philip Caygill said.

"I have got no feelings for him - he's cold-hearted and blindingly greedy. There was hardly a fortune to be had, money is not worth all the grief and heartache he has caused."

Mr Caygill said he knew something was wrong as his mother, who died in 2013 aged 84, had worked as a PA and was very particular when it came to spelling.

He said: "He had spelt my name wrong and my mum had been a PA for a big company, and she would never let any document out of her sight that wasn't correct. She was meticulous.

"It's been hard but I have been tenacious and like a terrier, I could not have lived with myself if I had walked away and let him get away with it."

He also produced letters from his mother, after his brother had got rid of the ones she kept at home, to show the signature was fake.

Teesside Crown Court heard the forgery had granted Caygill three quarters of Mrs Caygill's house on top of the £26,000 he had taken from her bank accounts.

Philip, who works in construction, said his mother had told him that his brother had been taking advantage of her before her death, but she did not want to cause any trouble.

"My mum was too old to rock the boat, and he threatened to stop coming to see her and he said he would stop bringing his daughter with him if she kicked up a fuss," he said.

"I felt totally frustrated and helpless as I couldn't do anything for my mum's sake."

Court officials confirmed Caygill was jailed for four years after being convicted of forgery and using a false instrument.