Stepchildren deny acting fraudulently in obtaining death cert for woman

The stepchildren of a woman, who left her allegedly violent husband many years ago have denied they acted fraudulently in obtaining a death certificate for her.

In her High Court proceedings, the woman Ms Maureen Moore is seeking to overturn the sale of the family home at Mount Tallant Avenue, Harold's Cross, Dublin by two of the children of her late estranged husband John G Moore and is claiming entitlement to a share of it.

Maureen Moore (aged 71), Laburnum Square, North Road, Drogheda, Co Louth who rejected her stepchildren's claims, has brought proceedings over the sale in 2002 for €254,000 of the property at Mount Tallant Avenue.

Her proceedings are against John Moore Woodstock Park, Knocklyon, Dublin 16, and Maria Byrne nee Moore, Oakdale Crescent, Ballycullen, Co Dublin, over the sale of the property.

Mrs Moore is also seeking an order requiring Nadine Chetty, who purchased the property in 2002 and who is living in the Middle East, to deliver up the property to her.

The defendants have denied all the claims against them. Today on what was the second day of Maureen Moore's action her stepchildren John Moore (aged 43) and Maria Byrne (aged 41) said that they were sure their stepmother had died when they discovered a death certificate in the name of Maureen Moore in 2000.

Both told the court they heard nothing from her after she left the family home in 1982, and claimed they made efforts to find her that did not yield any results.

They also told the court that they were shocked when they learned in August 2006 that Muareen was still alive.

They also described their stepmother as "a bully" who "drank a lot" who had deserted them and was not forced to leave the home as she has claimed.

They rejected Maureen Moore claims that their father was a violent unpleasant person. Their late father they said was popular, a gentleman and a great father.

In his evidence John Moore said that he was "delighted" and "quite relieved" after Maureen Moore left their home in 1982.

He said that Ms Moore was a bully who could be physically abusive and engaged in mental torture. He said that as a result of her behaviour he slept with a knife under his pillow.

He told the court that after his father died in 1996 efforts were made to locate Maureen Moore. He said a solicitor acting on his behalf wrote letters, a friend who worked as a Private investigator also made inquiries but he and his sister could not find her.

Under cross examination he said that it was "not true" that he had acted fraudulently or tried to "pass off" the death certificate of a woman named Maureen Moore in order to be in a position to sell the house.

He said that it was his genuine belief that the Maureen Moore who died in 1995 was his stepmother.

There had been no contact since she left, and he said it was not unreasonable to believe she had died because he said she was somebody who drank a lot of alcohol. He agreed that the Garda fraud squad had interviewed him over the matter.

John's sister Maria Byrne told the court that Maureen relationship, with their late father was "very unstable" and living with her was a "like walking on glass".

She said that following a search she conducted she had "no doubt" that the person who died in 1995 was in fact their stepmother as she believed the age and the occupation of the deceased matched that of their stepmother.

In her action Maureen Moore claims that the defendants unjustly and fraudulently enriched themselves by selling the property. She alleges, following the death of Mr Moore, she was entitled to be the registered full owner of the property.

The house was purchased in 1975 and both Maureen and John G. Moore, who married in 1971 were the joint tenants. Ms Moore said she had to leave because of threats from her husband and moved to Belgium. She returned to Ireland after many years.

She later discovered her husband had died and the house had been sold. A death certificate for Maureen Moore was obtained by the Moores in 2000.

That certificate was for a Maureen Moore with an address at Kilmacud, Dublin, who had passed away in January 1995.

The certificate it is claimed was obtained to defeat Ms Moore's title to the house so the defendant children could sell it on for financial gain.

Mrs Moore claims her husband's children wrongfully converted the title deeds of the property for their own use and benefit and did not pass good title to Ms Chetty. She is seeking various declarations and damages.

The case, before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy, continues.

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