LAW & ORDER – Atkinson v H.M. Attorney-General (A local will case Redcar)

Accreditation the Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-sea 21/04/1871 Gazette



            This was a suit to establish the will of the late Mary Henderson, of Redcar, who died on 19 May, 1870, having made her will in October 1861. It was opposed by the Crown on the ground that it was not duly executed, that the testatrix was not of sound mind, and that it was procured by the undue influence of the plaintiff Ralph Atkinson, and other persons.

Dr’s. Spinks, Q. C., and Mr Charles (instructed by MessrsBrooks and call., agents for Messrs Dodds and Trotter, solicitors, Stockton) represented the plaintiff. The Attorney-General (Sir Robert P. Collier, Q. C., M.P.)  the Queen’s Advocate (Sir Travers Twiss, Q.C. and Mr Archibald appeared for the Queen’s Proctor.

            Ralph Atkinson examined by Mr Charles, said I am the plaintiff, and remember on 30 September, 1861, getting a letter from Mary Henderson, asking me to go and see her the next day. I went to wreck car and saw her. She said she wished to have her will, made, and I advised her to have a solicitor, but she thought I could write. I did so; and after it was written. she said she would send for a neighbour to witness it stop. She mentioned Alan Robinson and he came.

By Lord Penzance: That was all after the will had been made.

By Mr Charles: When he came. She said there must be another party to side with him. He went and fetched in Preston, his brother-in-law. She had signed her name before Robinson came. When Preston came she produced the will, and Robinson told her she must re-sign it. She took a dry pen and did so. We then signed both our names.

Cross-examined by the Attorney-General: She had never said anything to me about a will before. I used to see her two or three times a year. I live about 20 miles from her. She was 64 when she died. She could not walk about well. She was on the sofa all the time. She was in her usual dress stop she had never mentioned a will to me before, nor did I ask her how she wanted it made. I made a rough draft of it. I mentioned the existence of the draft to Mr Brooks, the Proctor. I made it from a copy of her grandfather’s will, which she gave me. That is to say, I took it for my guide, scratch that. She told me to put my name as it appears in the will. She signed the rough copy. I was there till the next day. She was in a weak state, but better than she had been. It was between five and seven in the evening. I did not see her write her name to the will in the first instance, but I did when she re-signed it. I never told Preston that I had signed it for her. She asked me to take it and keep it for her. I only saw her once or twice a year afterwards. Robinson is dead.

William Preston, examined by Dr Spinks, Q.C.: I was worried at the time the will was made. I lived at Redcar. My brother-in-law, Alan Robinson, is dead. I remember his fetching me to the house of Mary Henderson, and I witnessed her will, and so did he. He asked me to go and witness a will. I don’t remember much about it, as it is so long ago. A gentleman was sitting there, and Miss Henderson was on the sofa bed, I can remember which. I don’t remember whether I saw her sign it, but I know I would not have put my name there unless it was all right, now, would my brother-in-long.

The Attorney-General said he did not think he ought to keep up the opposition to the will any longer after hearing the evidence of Mr Atkinson, which had been given in the fairest manner. The Queen’s Proctor had certain statements put before him, on which he felt round to act, but he (the Attorney-General) felt sure the court would think the Queen’s Proctor was bound to bring the matter forward.

Lord Penzance, then pronounced for the well.





Lol Hansom October 28, 2013 Law & Order