Hunt for mystery heir who has one year left to claim multi-million inheritance

Lawyers have appealed to the public for help in their search for a man who stands to inherit millions after his mother left him her fortune in her will.

TA Matthews Solicitors, acting on behalf of a family from Hereford to unravel the multi-million pound mystery, need to find the man who was given up for adoption at birth in 1964.

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When Stella Knott, nee Phillips, died on 5 February 2016, she left her £3.5m estate to the son she had given up for adoption.

Since then, her husband, Reginald, and his legal team have been trying unsuccessfully, to trace Roy Phillips, who was born on February 16, 1964, at the former Warneford Hospital in Leamington Spa.

“He was adopted at birth, but we do not know what his adopted name is. The estate is substantial, but unless Roy Phillips comes forward he will lose his inheritance on the third anniversary of Stella’s death,” said litigation lawyer Keith Needs of TA Matthews.

“We know very little. We do not know where he lives, what his name is – he might not even know he is adopted. As far as we know, he could be living in Australia.”

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Stella grew up in a Catholic family in Hereford, and was sent away for five months to Leamington where she gave birth to Roy when she was 20. A little over a year later, on December 11, 1965, she married Reginald at the Catholic Church in Broad Street, Hereford.

The couple never had children of their own. The team searching for Roy has been working on the assumption that she was sent away to have the baby.

Less than a year left to find Roy

The Will leaving her estate to Roy was made in 1991 and contains no clue as to how to trace him. It does stipulate the proceeds will be inherited by another family member if Roy is not found within three years of Stella’s death; that deadline is in a little less than a year from now.

Mr Needs added: “These cases come up from time to time. We usually speak to a genealogist, but without the adopted name, they can’t help us. As far as we know, he could have been given a different first name as well."

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After exhausting all official channels, solicitors appealed to readers of their local paper for help tracing Roy, placing a sponsored article on the Leamington Spa Courier website.

“We have exhausted all official channels, so are now appealing to Leamington Courier readers to help us find Roy," Mr Needs told the Courier.

"We know it’s a long shot, but I want to get to the bottom of it, and my client, Mr Knott, wants to see the man have his inheritance.”

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of, or indeed thinks they might be, Roy Phillips, is asked to contact TA Matthews.

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“We are hoping someone will remember something. Maybe a distant relative or a sibling, a nurse,” said Keith.

Fortune hunters, however, need not apply: “We have ways and means of establishing someone’s identity,” said Keith. He can be contacted by phone on 01432 352121, by email at [email protected] or by post at TA Matthews, 1st Floor, Broadway House, 32-35 Broad Street, Hereford, HR4 9AR.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Leamington Spa Courier

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