A couple who lent their daughter Sh12.4 million have been left horrified by a court ruling that they cannot have it back – because they failed to draw up a contract.
David and Glenda Joy’s daughter Lucy insisted the life-changing sum, which helped her secure a home, was a gift, and a judge has ruled in her favour.
Now the parents say their lives have been left in ruins by her ‘manipulative’ behaviour.
Speaking following the ruling, the couple, both retired British Airways workers, said they mortgaged their home to lend Lucy the money because they believed it would help heal a long-running family rift over an inheritance.
Instead it has ripped the family even further apart.
‘It wasn’t meant to go this way,’ said Mr Joy, who suffered a nervous breakdown in the course of the dispute. ‘You trust your children, don’t you? Why would you get them to write an IOU? But it’s cost us everything.
I haven’t got a daughter any more. I constantly think about the phone ringing and being told, “Lucy’s been run over, are you going to the funeral?” That’s something I can’t answer.’
The couple thought carefully before agreeing to make the loan in 2009, after David’s mother left Lucy a £200,000, three-bedroom house in Slough.
David’s two siblings challenged the will, claiming Lucy had unfairly influenced her grandmother, who had dementia. Unable to settle the matter, David agreed to help Lucy in a legal battle which eventually cost the couple £73,650 in legal fees.
David was at one point so fearful of receiving another bill he would hide from the postman in the downstairs cloakroom. ‘He was like a haunted man,’ said Glenda, who is Lucy’s stepmother.
An out-of-court settlement was reached that required Lucy to pay £90,000, which she asked for her parents’ help in paying.
The couple covered the settlement and say Lucy suggested she could repay them by signing her grandmother’s house over to Glenda, then paying rent until the loan was repaid and the house returned to her – something she denied in court.
The couple insist they took out a mortgage on their three-bedroom home in Bude, Cornwall, only after making a verbal agreement. But a month after the money was paid, they asked Lucy when she would sign the house over. ‘She turned,’ said Glenda. ‘She said, “You’re trying to steal my baby’s inheritance, screw the pair of you”, loaded up her car and drove off.’
They haven’t spoken since.
‘Lucy’s whole attitude throughout was, “Dad can afford it”,’ David continued. ‘She had no qualms about letting me pay the lawyer’s fees.’
Yet Lucy, David says bitterly, thought nothing of privately funding IVF to have her son as a single parent while he and Glenda were ‘drowning’ in legal bills.
‘Glenda could see that Lucy was manipulating me,’ he adds. ‘I can’t get my head around it. When you love your children you can’t envisage things would turn sour.’
Last year the couple decided to take Lucy to court. But just over a week ago they lost their case.
Glenda said: ‘I still have bad nights over the injustice of it all – and our stupidity. I should have said, “sign something”.’
David added: ‘Lucy has got what she deserved. But she didn’t deserve to do it at our expense. Fighting over a £200,000 house has cost us everything.’
Lucy did not respond to a request for comment.
Source: Daily Mail