Family sickened by killer’s bid for victims’ estate

Lisa Clay and Paul Chadwick.
Lisa Clay and Paul Chadwick.

A crazed father from Bolton-le-Sands who stabbed his partner and six-year-old son to death has sparked outrage after launching a bid to inherit his victims’ estate from behind bars.

Paul Chadwick, 35, was detained indefinitely in a secure mental health unit last year after going on a bloody rampage, knifing his son Joseph 25 times and his partner Lisa Clay 32 times at their home.

The father of one stabbed Miss Clay before turning the knife on his terrified son after he awoke to hear his mother screaming and ran into his parents’ bedroom.

But now the deranged killer is trying to get his hands on his victim’s £200,000 estate using a legal loophole reserved for victims of domestic violence.

Miss Clay’s grieving family said they were ‘sickened’ after the paranoid schizophrenic lodged papers at the High Court demanding access to the £150,000 semi-detached home he shared with his 40-year-old partner in Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire, his son’s £30,000 trust fund, and £16,000 in joint bank accounts.

To add further insult, he is demanding that his victim’s aunts, uncles and cousins, who stand to inherit the estate, fit the bill for his legal costs.

If he is successful, the test case could set a precedent for other killers to make claims on the grounds that their mental health was impaired at the time.

Miss Clay’s distraught family issued a statement saying: ‘We were stunned when we found out he was taking legal action to try to claim the inheritance.

“He robbed them of their lives, their futures, and now he wants to take their money. This is a matter of justice.

“This has caused a great deal of distress to us.

“The thought that Lisa’s killer can profit from his crime is too appalling for words.

“We can’t afford to be dragged into a lengthy legal fight.”

Miss Clay’s relatives, who do not want to be named, have been forced to raid savings to fight the killer’s case.

Chadwick, who is currently being held at a secure hospital in Preston, lodged a claim at Preston High Court just three months after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility last September.

Mr Justice King ordered him to remain in hospital handing him an ‘unlimited’ restriction order, which means he will only be released on the consent of the Secretary of State.

But Chadwick has managed to contact lawyers who lodged a claim arguing that because he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out the attack he is still entitled to the assets and house bought by Miss Clay using money she inherited from her family because he was the beneficiary of her will.

His claim submitted by law firm, Clarkson Hirst, states: “In light of the claimant having suffered from an abnormality of mental functioning and with reference to the psychiatric evidence provided in criminal proceedings in relation to the offence, the claimant seeks a modification of the forfeiture rules… allowing him to inherit the estate of the late Lisa Jane Clay and the late Joseph Chadwick.”

He is seeking to fund his legal battle through monies from the estate and has launched a claim for ‘costs’ from his victims’ heartbroken relatives, who learnt of the action just days before Christmas last year.

Keith Etherington, of Slater & Gordon, who is representing Miss Clay’s family, said: “They are sickened.

“There is a sense from the family this does not demonstrate any type of remorse for what he has done.

“It has extended the suffering unnecessarily for these people.

“This is a shameful action. It has put them through costs they can’t really afford.

“We do not believe that the law was written to allow people like Paul Chadwick to benefit from his crime. We intend to fight his claim on behalf of the family.”