Woman’s claim on estate of mother’s lesbian partner rejected

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The ex-wife of director Ken Russell has lost her High Court battle over the £2.3m estate of her mother’s lesbian lover.

Hetty Baynes had been seeking £800,000 from the estate of sculptor Mary Spencer Watson, who died in 2006.

Ms Baynes had claimed that Ms Spencer Watson had treated her as a daughter and supported her financially.

The court heard Ms Baynes and her family had lived at Dunshay Manor in Purbeck, Dorset, owned by Miss Spencer Watson.

Ms Baynes’ mother, Margot, had had an intimate relationship with Miss Spencer Watson for more than 50 years.

The couple raised five children from Margot Baynes’ previous marriage.

Miss Spencer Watson’s will bequeathed £2m Dunshay Manor to the building preservation charity, the Landmark Trust, leaving only £2,500 to Ms Baynes.

Ms Baynes had sought financial provision as a dependent of the estate.

The actress, who divorced her director husband in 1999, has appeared in numerous minor film and television roles over many years, but is now said to be heavily in debt.

However, Mr Justice Lewison dismissed her claim, saying Ms Baynes had taken advantage of Miss Spencer Watson’s generosity and was not entitled to any more.

He also dismissed a £1.6m claim on the estate by Margot Baynes, now 90 and suffering from Alzheimer’s.