Stepchildren offered widow £10k and one-way ticket home in will battle

Tristan Kirk

A widow whose stepchildren offered her £10,000 and a one-way ticket back to the Philippines following the death of her husband has lost her fight for a share of his fortune.

Rosita Hendry, 52, flew to the UK to marry Michael Hendry in 2003, two years after they met in the Philippines, and the couple lived together in Surrey.

But the marriage collapsed amid claims of excessive drinking and adultery, and they were in the process of divorcing when Mr Hendry died in 2017 aged 70.

At the time of his death, Mr Hendry had cut his estranged wife out of his will, leaving everything — including his home near Hampton Court Palace — to two of his children from a previous relationship.

Ms Hendry was told she could have £10,000 in cash and a one-way flight home, but she rejected the offer and instead started a legal fight for a £110,000 share of his £220,000 estate.

However, she has now lost the High Court fight and will end up with nothing. The court heard she signed a pre-nuptial agreement with Mr Hendry which allowed her £10,000 and a flight back home in the event of their divorce, which had not been finalised when he died.

His children, Michael Hendry, 21, and Dorothy Pertiwi, 30, offered Ms Hendry the same deal after his death, and were again rebuffed when they suggested the estate could be split three ways.

Ms Hendry, who lived with her late husband and Michael junior in East Molesey, claimed the marriage had broken down due to Mr Hendry’s excessive drinking, while Ms Pertiwi suggested her stepmother had been unfaithful.

Judge Karen Shuman did not rule on the validity of the allegations, but she threw out Ms Hendry’s claim for half of the estate because it was lodged too late, in April last year, more than a year after her husband’s death.

She said Michael junior’s “outgoings exceed his income” and his sister was “in a precarious financial position.”

The judge added that Ms Hendry might have had “an arguable case” if her claim had been made in time, and said she could try to sue her solicitors.