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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 09:49 GMT
Sister evicted for charity bequest
Sheila Holmes
Sheila Holmes left 25,000 to her sister and her house to animals
Bailiffs are evicting a 60-year-old woman from her Sevenoaks home so the property can be sold to help animals as ordered in her late sister's will.

Jean Mason rents her own home, but she moved back into the house two years ago when her sister, Sheila Holmes, died.

The house had once been her home for several years after their mother's death, when Miss Mason moved in temporarily with her sister and brother-in-law, Peter Holmes.

Now she is refusing to leave.

The pensioner was left 25,000 by her sister, but she has spent most of that contesting the will - when the 385,000 property is sold, seven animal charities will receive 45,000 each.

Jean Mason
I am horrified. It has made me ill. It has really destroyed me
Jean Mason
Miss Mason claims it was the dying wish of her sister - who was eight years older than her - that she would live in the three-bedroom house, spoken as she nursed her through the last stages of breast cancer.

She said the house was still home to Sheila's two cats.

Miss Mason said she does not currently live in the house, but is there each day.

The executors of the will won a county court eviction order on 9 December which ordered her to leave the house by Wednesday.

Miss Mason is now staying there until she is forced to go.

The three-bedroom house in Sevenoaks is still home to two cats

She said: "It's the scale of it. They are charities. They should be charitable and accept a smaller donation.

"I am horrified.

"It has made me ill. It has really destroyed me."

A statement by the executors issued through their solicitor said: "While sympathising with Jean Mason's position, we do not accept it.

"We owe a duty of care to the charities.

"The will is valid and we are yet to see any evidence to the contrary."

The charities to benefit from the estate include the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, Battersea Dogs Home and the Cats Protection League.

Battersea Dogs Home said that some legacies left to the charity are contested, but the organisation always abided by the decision of the court.

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