Gloucestershire

Man guilty of swindling brother's share of £1.5m inheritance

A man has been convicted of swindling his brother out of his share of a £1.5m inheritance.

Peter Howes, 53, was found guilty of five counts of fraud at Bristol Crown Court. His wife Jane, 51, was acquitted of a single charge of fraud.

As executor of his mother's will, Howes forged his mother's and brother's signatures to cash in trust funds.

He also took the proceeds of the sale of his mother Joyce's £1m house from her bank account.

The pair will be sentenced at a future hearing.

'No money left'

The couple of Lower Barn Farm, Lechlade had denied all counts against them.

Howes also cashed in two life insurance policies, totalling almost £100,000.

During the trial jurors were told that the estate should have been split equally between Howes and his brother.

Instead he transferred cash into a joint account, set up between himself and his mother, then moved it into a sole account in his name.

The cash was then used to buy a 40% stake in an online gaming company set up by a relative of his wife.

Howes's elder brother, Jonathan said in court he only became aware of problems in the probate of his mother's will, after a discussion with family lawyers following his mother's death.

"I discovered during the course of this discussion that all of my mother's bank accounts were effectively empty - there was no money left," Mr Howes told the court.

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