Former judge forged man’s will to seize control of his estate

Nottingham Crown Court.

A former judge and her husband forged a will in order to seize control of his estate.

Ex-judge Margaret Hampshire, 69, pleaded guilty to fraud and two counts of forgery at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday, while husband Alan Hampshire, 67, admitted forgery and two counts of theft.

The pair forged the will of Martin Blanche, who died in February 2007 and could not read or write, and, so was unlikely to have written his will himself.

Mr Blanche lived alone and owned a property in Rolleston, near Newark, called Middle Corner House. He also owned a share of another nearby home, End Corner House.

After forging his will, Margaret Hampshire made a false statement on oath: that the will of Mr Blanche was a true and original article.

The pair transferred the estate to Margaret Hampshire’s cousin, Josephine Burroughs. There is no evidence to suggest Ms Burroughs knew the will was forged.

Margaret Hampshire, who held a Power of Attorney for Burroughs, then transferred the properties to the couple’s daughter.

Former employment tribunal judge Margaret Hampshire admitted to forging the will of Martin Blanche.

Margaret Hampshire also admitted she created a forged document which she kept at home as a means to avoid inheritance tax.

At the time of the offences, Margaret Hampshire was a serving deputy district judge for employment tribunals. She had previously worked as a solicitor specialising in wills and probate.

Despite transferring Blanche’s estate to their daughter, Margaret and Alan Hampshire then converted the two properties into one home which they named Wheatsheaf Cottage.

The Hampshires subsequently sold their residence in Essex and moved to the cottage in Rolleston in 2016.

Alan Hampshire admitted to stealing a total of £23,176 from Burroughs during 2012.

The police investigation demonstrated this money was used to pay for renovation works at the cottages that were transferred to their daughter.

Josephine Burroughs died on January 22 2014, before the police investigation commenced.

Their dishonesty unravelled after a complex police investigation undertaken by the Fraud Department, which included handwriting analysis by an expert, financial investigation and computer data analysis.

The Hampshires were arrested on 30 September 2014 and denied the offences, however they changed their pleas to guilty yesterday (Wednesday, November 30) and are due to be sentenced on December 20.