Chadwick v Collinson and Others: ChD 24 Sep 2014

The deceased and the claimant lived together for about 10 years in an apparently stable and loving relationship. They had a son together. They also co-owned a house (by way of joint tenancy) in which they lived. In April 2013 the claimant was referred by his GP for a mental health assessment after describing feelings of paranoia and of hearing voices. In the early morning of the day of the assessment the claimant stabbed both the deceased and their son to death. He was charged with murder, but his plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted by the Crown and he was made the subject of a hospital order. The court now considered the division of the estate under the 1982 Act. The applicant sought the disapplication of the 1982 Act.
Held: The circumstances offered did not allow disapplication of the Forfeiture rule.
Pelling QC HHJ referred to the decision of Patten J in Dalton v Latham and others, and said: ‘The effect of these different approaches was held by Patten J in Dalton v Latham (ante) at 11 as meaning that the first and paramount consideration is that identified by Philips LJ but that such is not the only factor to be considered and that the other factors to be considered included those identified by Mummery LJ. I would be entitled to depart from that approach [ie that of HHJ Pelling QC] only if satisfied that it was plainly wrong. That is not my view. On the contrary, with respect, I consider it to be the correct approach not least because it is consistent with the terms of the Act.’
Pelling QC HHJ
[2014] EWHC 3055 (Ch)
Forfeiture Act 1982, Mental Health Act 1983
England and Wales
CitedIn the Estate of Cunigunda Crippen deceased 1911
Dr Crippen notoriously survived his wife. Between the date of his conviction for her murder and the carrying out of the death sentence passed on him, Dr Crippen made a will naming Ethel Le Neve as the sole executrix and universal beneficiary. Ethel . .
CitedIn the Estate of Julian Bernard Hall deceased; In re RH CA 1914
The rule against an offender benefitting from his crime applies not just in cases involving a conviction for murder.
Held: The court rejected a suggestion that a distinction should be drawn between cases of murder and manslaughter. Lord . .
CitedGray v Barr CA 1971
A husband had accidentally shot and killed his wife’s lover after threatening him with a shotgun.
Held: The court confirmed the decision at first instance. He was not liable to be indemnified by his insurers for the losses claimed against him . .
CitedRe H (Deceased) 1990
The Plaintiff had stabbed his wife to death while acting under a delusion induced by a reaction to a drug that he had been prescribed.
Held: Public policy did not require in every case of the manslaughter of a spouse that the forfeiture rule . .
CitedD v L and Others ChD 16-Apr-2003
The claimant had been found guilty of the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of the deceased. He now sought disapplication of the 1982 Act.
Held: The application failed: ‘The reforms introduced by the Homicide Act 1957 were designed to . .

Cited by:
CitedChallen v Challen and Another ChD 27-May-2020
Forfeiture rule disapplied after spousal abuse
The claimant sought the disapplication of the forfeiture rule. She had been convicted of the manslaughter of her seriously abusive husband. The court considered whether a conviction for murder set aside and replaced with one of manslaughter was a . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.537220