A Chinese lawyer who married an elderly millionaire widower 11 months before his death is being sued by his daughter after she was excluded from his will.
Guixiang Qin, 54, married wealthy retired butcher Robert Harrington in June 2019, 11 months before his death at the age of 94.
Ms Qin met the “generous, cute and funny” Mr Harrington after he placed an advert in a newspaper, offering a free Christmas dinner in exchange for company, she told a judge.
Ms Qin, a Chinese lawyer, moved into his home in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, a month after meeting in January 2019 and the couple married shortly afterwards.
Harrington died in May 2020, having changed his will two months earlier to remove his only daughter, Jill Langley, 70, and leave his estate, estimated at around £1 million, to his new wife.
Guixiang Qin, 54, moved into Robert Harrington’s home in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, a month after they met in January 2019.
Robert Harrington with two children many years ago.
Robert Harrington’s daughter Jill Langley, 70, arrives at the county court in central London.
Now, Mrs. Langley is suing her late father’s widow, and Mrs. Qin denies allegations that she “threw him into the cheapest possible grave…once she had all his money.”
Ms Qin told Central London County Court that she originally came to the UK to study an MBA in Law and did not need cash.
She met Mr Harrington in January 2019 after responding to a newspaper ad he had placed offering “free food and drink over Christmas” in exchange for company, Robert McAllister told the Recorder.
She ended up contacting him in the new year, she said, and shortly afterward he took her on a trip to the beach.
“We had fish and chips and I paid for it,” she said, commenting, “to me he was just a very kind person, a gentleman.”
Ms Langley’s lawyer, James McKean, said the courtship seemed like a “whirlwind romance”, adding: “So this relationship developed extremely quickly?” “Yes,” she replied.
—What did you see in him when you met him? Mr McKean asked, continuing: “He told you at that first meeting that he had three cars, didn’t he?” suggesting that Mr Harrington had “bragged” to her about her cars and “told her that he was a millionaire”.
“No,” she replied. “He didn’t tell me that.”
The lawyer highlighted the bank statements, which he said showed that between October 2018 and May 2020, Ms Qin had virtually cleaned out Mr Harrington.
‘From October 2018 to May 2020, you took almost every penny I had, didn’t you?’ she told him.
“No, and in October 2018 I didn’t even go to his house,” Ms. Qin said. “I hadn’t met him yet.”
Mr McKean claimed the grave bought for Mr Harrington was of poor quality and had been kept in a poor condition since his death, while Mrs Qin revealed she paid £640 for the headstone.
“He only spent £640 because he had taken all the rest of the money,” the lawyer suggested, but she told the court: “When Mr Harrington was still alive I spoke to him about this and he told me not to be extravagant about it.” .
“The only thing Mr. Harrington was to you was an opportunity to make money,” Ms. Langley’s lawyer said. “Once you got all his money, you threw it into the cheapest grave possible. That’s right, right?”
“No,” Mrs. Qin insisted, denying the lawyer’s suggestion that she “hadn’t even bothered to maintain the grave properly.”
Mr Harrington’s daughter, Mrs Langley, also claims that her stepmother ignored her father’s wish that he be buried next to his late wife of 66 years, who had died in 2018.
But Mrs Qin said Mr Harrington was buried separately from his first wife because: “he said he loved me and would prefer to be buried near me”.
McKean accused her of “taking advantage of him into a predatory marriage,” adding that she later “pressured or persuaded her husband to make such a will.”
Mrs Qin denied the allegations against her, insisting: “Robert loved me very much and I loved him too.”
Mrs Qin, speaking through a translator, told the court that she “never asked him for money” and that she loved her husband for his sense of humor and his passion for singing and dancing at home.
Calling the wealthy former butcher “adorable”, she said he told Mr Harrington he did not need his cash, although he would realize he had deposited money into his account.
“So many times he told me he would give me money, but I didn’t ask him for it, I told him I didn’t need it,” he told the judge.
“I knew that he was a special and great person and also that he was very generous with everyone, and he was also very cute and funny and when he had free time he would sing and watch television.”
Mrs Qin told the court she had been seduced by Mr Harrington’s charm, adding that the pensioner had also taught her how to cook traditional home-cooked recipes, such as roast chicken and her favorite ham and beef dishes.
‘He really liked music and loved to sing and dance; sometimes when we watched television he would sing to me. “He knew all the songs that were on television and he told me the story of his childhood,” he told the court.
Ms. Langley’s lawyer questioned Ms. Qin over her claims that she met her future husband in January 2019, suggesting that they had met in 2018 or 2017, when she allegedly agreed to work as a paid caregiver for Mr. Langley’s then-wife. Harrington, Eileen.
Robert Harrington’s former home on Gayton Road, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
“You were that caretaker, weren’t you?” the lawyer asked, but Mrs. Qin denied it and said, “I wasn’t there.”
She explained that after seeing Mr Harrington’s advert in the newspaper “inviting people to lunch” in late 2018, they had initially chatted on the phone before she met him face to face in early 2019.
The pair were chatting on the phone around Christmas 2018 when she realized how lonely he felt and decided to meet him, the court heard.
“I promised him I would go visit him because I sensed that he was feeling very depressed at the time.”
Ms Langley’s lawyer suggested that between 2018 and 2020, more than £350,000 was transferred from Mr Harrington’s account to Ms Qin’s, which she strongly denied.
She told the judge: ‘At first, he didn’t pay me and I didn’t ask him for money. After a few months, he just gave me money because he wouldn’t let me work.’
In March 2019 she was sent a payment of £5,000 which she explained went towards her wedding ring.
“He proposed to me two or three times,” she told the court.
Ms Qin denies all allegations about the will and told the court that she “had a clear mind” and that four lawyers were involved in the will-making process in May 2020.
The judge has now reserved his decision in the case, which will be announced at a later date.