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Former partner of murdered antiques expert jailed for forging will

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A man has been jailed for eight months after forging the will of his ex-partner.

Antiques dealer Robyn Mercer had been attacked and killed outside her Surrey home in March 2016.

Robert Webb, who also lived the address, had been ruled out as a suspect in the subsequent murder investigation.

But the 54-year-old, who was facing eviction from the property, was found to have forged Mrs Mercer’s will.

Suspicions were raised about the authenticity of the document because it dated from a period when the couple’s relationship had grown increasingly troubled.

Relatives claimed that the pair’s relationship had come to an end in November 2015, but Mr Webb had continued to live at the house in West Molesey.

The defendant told Kingston Crown Court that he had fabricated the document because he had wanted to “smoke out” a bona fide missing will, which he claimed gave instructions that he could continue to live at the home indefinitely.

Recorder Ian Peddie QC imposed the custodial sentence for one count of making a false instrument with intent.

He said: “This mean and callous offence had the effect of greatly exacerbating the effects and the emotional distress Mrs Mercer's children have suffered following the untimely and brutal death.

“Not only have they had to contend with her death and the continuing investigation into her death - an investigation that is not yet complete - they also had to face ... your dishonesty. It is shameful behaviour on your part.”