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Wife wins disputed shares battle
A 69-year-old woman has won a multi-million pound legal fight with her estranged 72-year-old husband over the ownership of shares in a family engineering firm.
The breakdown of Susan and Richard Shield's 43-year marriage had led to their adult children lining up on opposite sides of a High Court battle.
Mr and Mrs Shield, who have four children aged between 30 and 40, had disagreed over the ownership of shares in RA Shield Holdings - an engineering firm based in Leicester worth tens of millions of pounds.
He said he held his shares in the business on behalf of son Christopher, 36 - and suggested that his son would inherit his 50.22% shareholding. She disagreed.
A judge has ruled in favour of Mrs Shield after a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Deputy High Court Judge Nicholas Francis QC concluded that Mr Shield's shares belonged to Mr Shield and would be available to creditors and form part of his estate after death.
The judge said Christopher Shield's claim for a declaration that "the shares are held on trust for him" failed.
He said that had he ruled in favour of Mr Shield, the shares would not have about been available to a judge making decisions about division of finances any divorce money dispute.
Judge Francis said the success of the business following a re-organisation appeared to have been "substantially due to Christopher".
And he added: "Had Christopher failed to save and re-build Shield Holdings, then this phase of this bitter litigation would not of course have occurred, for there would have been no shares to argue over in the divorce between the husband and wife."
The judge he hoped that the family, who had already spent more than £1 million in legal costs, could find a way to "resolve the dispute without further bitterness".
"The husband is aged 72 and the wife is 69," added Judge Francis. "No-one could fail to observe, and to be dismayed and saddened, by the fact that, after 43 years of marriage, this couple's divorce has involved not only themselves but their adult children."