The wife and daughters of late horse trainer Bunny Cox are in a multimillion-euro fortune dispute in the High Court


A dispute between a mother and her three daughters over the multi-million dollar estate of the late well-known horse trainer and jockey Bunny Cox has returned to the High Court.

The case involves Sally Cox, widow of John Richard Cox, known as Bunny, and her daughters Jennifer, Suzanne and Michelle.

The daughters allege undue influence over the transfer of co-ownership of Mr Cox’s estates in Lisnawilly, Dundalk, Co Louth to his wife a few months before his death in January 2006 at the age of 81.

Sean Sheehan, the attorney who conducted the joint title deed, told the court the property, which a number of developers have been interested in, is valued at an estimated $40 million.

In a 1991 will, Mr Cox left the estate to his wife and after their son, Richard, was cared for, the daughters would inherit the remainder. However, the daughters claim it was always their father’s intention that they should all be a part of it.

In March 2005, Mr. and Mrs. Cox signed a joint title deed for their home and lands.

A new will was drafted in June of that year, in which the daughters would each receive 10 percent of the land, with 20 percent being held in trust for Richard. Mr Cox had been ill with cancer for more than a year before his death.

Ms Cox argues that the New Testament was signed in circumstances where her husband was not mentally able due to the “strong drugs” he was taking.

The case first came to court in 2018 when a court-appointed administrator sought to vacate the March 2005 deed creating common property.

The case was settled in 2018. However, due to problems implementing the settlement, it was reinstated and the hearing before Mr Judge Denis McDonald continued.

Ms Cox advised Louis McEntaggart SC on behalf of Administrator that after signing the joint title deed in March 2005, both she and her husband believed that no further will was necessary. However, they were informed that the children could contest the will under Section 117 of the Inheritance Act in relation to adequate care for children.

Ms Cox, who is representing herself in the case, said she believes the joint title deed is the same as the will, in which everything would go to her after his death.

Her daughter Suzanne told the court she took on her father’s role as coach in the years leading up to his death, but that her mother didn’t want it. Trouble started when Suzanne’s partner was used as a jockey in a race with one of the Cox horses.

Suzanne said her mother objected and there were “ructions” but she cleared it with her father first.

She said her father’s apprenticeship license was eventually transferred to her, but she said they had “a terrible job” getting her mother to sign them too.

She said her father made it clear that he wanted each of his children to have a farm available from a young age.

Michelle Cox, the youngest of the children, told the court she had been handling her father’s postal/administrative work and first became aware of the transfer of co-ownership to her mother when she came across a checkbook bearing the names of both parents was issued.

Michelle said that when she asked her father about it, he said it was because he had problems with his hand “and mumbled and said, ‘I hope I can trust her.'”

She said she also came across the 1991 will and found it strange as it “went against everything our father led us to believe”.

She spoke to her sisters and they turned to her mother while her father was in the hospital. “She (mother) actually took the pen and said what to write. Jenny said don’t be so ridiculous, you can’t change someone else’s will.”

Michelle and Jennifer drove to Louth County Hospital, where they found her father on the phone with her mother in a distressed state, she said.

Her father kept saying it (the 1991 will) wasn’t what he wanted, she said. He said it was “an old farmer’s will”.

Eventually they calmed down their father and left. They returned a few days later when their father said he was “making everything right”.

The case will continue on Friday. The wife and daughters of late horse trainer Bunny Cox are in a multimillion-euro fortune dispute in the High Court

Fry Electronics Team

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