Lawyer faces £1,000,000 legal bill for losing battle over Wotton House

Leigh White

Leigh White (pictured) was sued by the property owner (Image: Champion News Service)

A lawyer who claimed she was the “heiress” to a retired ambassador’s country home is facing a £1million legal bill after losing her legal battle.

Leigh White, 56, was told by a judge she must leave Grade I Wotton House, near Aylesbury, by Friday.

She had insisted she had a “right to stay” but millionaire David Gladstone, 87, accused her of squatting on his family pile.

Now he has to pay his legal costs after he successfully sued her – and was denied a month’s grace before she packed her bags.

Mrs White moved into the townhouse in 2017 following the death of Mr Gladstone’s son. She claimed she had been treated as a “surrogate daughter” by the former high commissioner to Sri Lanka – and must have forgotten earlier promises to inherit his £20m fortune.

But the High Court heard Mr Gladstone was “desperate to spend the rest of his life” in Wotton after moving to Cumbria to protect himself from Covid with his wife Mary in 2020.

The diplomat met Ms White 30 years ago when he was married to his first wife and their friendship blossomed over a shared passion for classical music and theatre. He became part of the couple’s inner circle and ran Wotton House after his wife’s death.

Champion News Service Ltd Tel: 07948286566 / 07914583378 Wotton House, near Aylesbury, which is at the center of the High Court battle between David Gladstone and Leigh White.

Wotton House, near Aylesbury, is at the center of the legal battle (Image: Champion News Service)

Former British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, David Gladstone (Addition: Lou Macnamara and Angus Frost/Yardstick Films)

David Gladstone, former British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, sued Ms White (Image: Lou Macnamara and Angus Frost/Yardstick Films)

However, after the pandemic the couple had fallen out and asked Mrs White to leave the house.

She claimed she had sacrificed a high-profile legal career to look after the property and had enjoyed a “close personal bond of love and affection” with Mr Gladstone.

After throwing out Ms White’s case earlier this month, Mr Justice Trower returned to court to refuse her lawyers’ request to be allowed to delay her departure by a month. He also ordered her to pay £725,000 in advance towards Mr Gladstone’s costs, which are likely to exceed £1m.

Her own costs were estimated at £350,000 even before the case went to court.

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