Carer wins survivor's fortune

The carer of an elderly Holocaust survivor has triumphed in a High Court battle fought over her £1.3m fortune.

Tanya Vasileva looked after her friend Gertrude Stanley - who had made her home in London after fleeing the Nazis - for four years as the octogenarian's health gradually deteriorated.

Mrs Stanley died in December 2009, aged 89, believing she had no living relatives; her sister died in a concentration camp. She promised her Hampstead flat to Miss Vasileva in return for the years of care she had given her.

But she made no will and a legal wrangle ensued after professional genealogist Peter Birchwood traced two distant cousins of Mrs Stanley.

Following Mrs Stanley's death, Miss Vasileva - who had cared part-time for the widow since 2005 - moved into her flat.

Acting on behalf of Mrs Stanley's estate, Mr Birchwood argued Miss Vasileva was a "trespasser" who should be made to pay £50,000 for her years of rent-free occupation. But His Honour Judge Mark Raeside ruled that Mrs Stanley did promise the flat to her carer. He awarded Miss Vasileva £20,000 and dismissed the claim against her.

    Last updated: 5:48pm, July 10 2014