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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 17:14 GMT
Family loses 10m will challenge
Kim Sing Man and Bee Lian Man
Mr Man and his wife were left most of Mrs Bechal's fortune
Two Chinese restaurant owners are to receive 10m from the estate of a widow after the High Court upheld her will.

Golda "Goldie" Bechal, from Mayfair, London, died aged 88 in 2004, leaving most of her estate to Kim Sing Man and Bee Lian Man.

A judge has dismissed the challenge from the widow's five nephews and nieces who claimed they were entitled to inherit her fortune.

Her relatives claimed she was suffering from dementia when the will was made.

'Like a mother'

Speaking outside the High Court in London, Mrs Man said Mrs Bechel would have been delighted with the outcome.

"She's like a mother to us, a grandmother to our children. We have a very special relationship. I'm like a daughter to her. And I still feel it deep down."

The restaurateurs, of Aragon Road, Great Leighs, Chelmsford in Essex, said they had had a long friendship with Mrs Bechal.

Barbara Green Mervyn Lebor and Sandra Blackman
Mrs Bechal's relatives claimed she was suffering from dementia

Mr Man was 13 when he first became friends with Mrs Bechal in the 1960s.

As she grew older, Mr Man would do various odd jobs for her and ensure she got her favourite Chinese pickled leeks and bean sprouts when he visited her.

She would spend Christmas and birthdays with the Mans while Mrs Man would accompany Mrs Bechal on holidays to Israel and Cannes, France.

The only other major beneficiaries under two wills signed in May and August of 1994 were a number of charities, including Jewish causes.

Mrs Bechal's husband Simon died in 1971 and her son Peter died, aged 28, in 1974.

Mrs Bechal's nieces and nephews - Sandra Blackman, of Devonport Road, Fulham, Barbara Green, of York Terrace East, Regents Park, Laurence Lebor, who lives in Israel, Louise Barnard, of Hendon Avenue, Barnet, and Mervyn Lebor, of Stainburn Avenue, Leeds - challenged the will at the High Court.

They claimed the widowed pensioner was so mentally frail the wills were invalid, but Judge Sir Donald Rattee dismissed their case.

He ruled that Mrs Bechal, although suffering from dementia at the time, had "testamentary capacity", and was well enough to have "known" and "approved" of the contents of the wills.

Bee Lian Man on her relationship with Golda Bechal


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