Dear Mr Hall,
I received you letter of the 3 inst 86 and note its contents.
I understood that when you took office, it would have been your priority to meet, discuss and investigate what my deceased father gave to my mentally handicapped brother. Unfortunately you preferred to communicate with M/s Tughan & Co and Cleaver, Fulton & Rankin who cannot show to the courts proper statements of accounts or money transactions (some being in cash sales) made on Freddie's behalf by professional people who took it upon themselves without any authority whatsoever to upturn every security left to Freddie by my father. If you had listened to non-professional people and the Fraud Squad who had a wealth of information painstakingly gathered over a four year period, this case would have been over long ago and Freddie would have had all properties, fraudulently taken from him, returned.
Your letter, as you say, was sent to me for information only, but I must reply in detail in order to put the record straight.
You now say that Mr. Brian Kerr is looking into my brother Freddie's affairs. I do hope that Mr. Kerr will be permitted to read the contents of this letter so that he will be conversant with the true facts.
You state that you had a long interview with Mr. Wright of M/s Tughan & Co on November '83 when the partners of that firm were present and the true position of title to the Smithfield properties was established. What was the true position at that time? If, as you say, the true position was established then, why then are these properties still in question three years later?
The agreement you speak of was not prepared for Mr. Gilpin's Company Neville Johnston but for my elder brother Billy. It did not include Francis Street as one to five was earmarked for a muti-carpark. This and the shopping complex were two of Mr. Gilpin's interests.
Due to the continual harassment, since my father's death, by Mr Gilpin and his cohorts, my brother Billy suffered a nervous breakdown and in that state he was literally dragged in a state of confusion and duress into Tughan & Co's office when he was forced to sign papers without his solicitor being present. Up to this day he does not know what he signed. Mr Bertie Wright and other colleagues were present at that time. Mr. Bertie Wright shouted to Billy "Sign this, sign this"*******" you don't need a solicitor", with the result he lost his business and was forced to retire because of continual and extreme pressure put upon him by Mr. C. Gilpin and his clients who undermined his authority in a most devious manner in order to get control of all Smithfield. This was done with ruthless persistence over a long period.
By this time Mr. Gilpin had Billy in such a state of mental anguish, he walked out leaving all stock. Up to date, although accounts were sent for two expensive cars. Mr. Gilpin never made any attempt to honour these debts. According to the Fraud Squad one was sent abroad and one given to Mr. C. Gilpin's wife. My brother Billy told Mr. Gilpin that he would take action against him and Mr. Gilpin replied that "no solicitor in town would or could touch him" which appears to be correct. Unfortunately Billy had not the money for an expensive court hearing after Mr. Gilpin had taken his 'pound of flesh', so the criminals go free.
I insist that the true position had never been heard. All this information should have been available to the Courts. Did M/s Tughan & Co discuss this with you, Mr. Hall, in 1983? Why accept the word of Mr. Bertie Wright when he has been interviewed on several occasions by the Fraud Squad? How can you state that you obtained this true position when you did not allow us to speak when invited into your office at that time? Why do we have to advise the courts in this manner?
Who gave the clerk, Mr. H. Doherty of Cleaver, Fulton & Rankin, the authority to go to No. 4 Norwood Gardens, threaten to inform the Police that he was closing the house and putting Freddie in a home? My sister Eileen and brother Billy were in the office of the, then, Master, Mr. Davis, waiting for Mr. Drennan of Messrs. Cleaver, Fulton and Rankin, but he failed to appear. Mr. Davis phoned his office when Mr. Drennan told him what Mr. Doherty was doing at that time. My brother and sister rushed home to Norwood Gardens when Mr. Doherty had made entrance and was lounging on a chair. No mention was made of why he was there. My brother Billy and sister Eileen just sat him out. Need I add that my elderly mother was in hospital after suffering a stroke. In this case she would have had no home or no son to come home to.
What did Cleaver, Fulton & Rankin do other than the above during the three years they were in charge of Freddie? We have never met Mr. Rankin and he could not have been conversant with the true facts at this time. May I add that Mr. Bertie Wright of M/s Tughan & Co and Mr. H. Doherty, clerk of M/s Cleaver, Fulton & Rankin went to my sister Betty's home in the same car and used threats and intimidation to get her out of her home which they succeeded in doing.
Paragraph 2. What agreement was presented to the Ryland Vehicle Group to enable them to purchase Freddie's properties from Mr. C. Gilpin? Did Bertie Wright act for Mr. Gilpin in this transaction? We understood that the Ryland Group were to take action for damages last October. Has this been stopped?
May I quote a paragraph from a letter received from the Ryland Group, "Our subsidiary, Neville Johnston Group is now involved in a complex legal action in which I understand your brother's interests are being vigorously represented by the Official Solicitor". If this is the case why have you, Mr. Hall, made two attempts to sell properties to Neville Johnston? Has this information been given to the Court?
Paragraph 4. These premises may still be occupied by Neville Johnston under the name of Andrews & Co but they have no proper title to this property and should not be there. Neville Johnson, Mr. C. Gilpin's company, were not in occupation since the death of my father. They did not come in until 1977 when my brother Billy, after years of harassment from Mr. Gilpin and his cronies, was forced to retire. Otherwise Billy would still be there and in business.
M/s Jackson, Andrews & Co were my father's and Freddie's accountants for years but it would appear that Mr. Jim Burnside in this firm did not do his duty by Freddie and keep his tax up to date. He again listened to Mr. C. Gilpin.
Paragraph 6. This amount was tendered by Mr. C. Gilpin on behalf of my brother Billy. Mr. C. Gilpin was ruthless pursuing his goal of owning Smithfield. Fortunately Miss Sullivan, my brother's solicitor (for which we all commend her) did not allow this sale to go through because of Freddie's incapacity. We do wish that Tughan & Co had acted in the same standard. Miss Sullivan insisted that the sale must go through the Courts.
Paragraph 7. The transfer of Andrews & Co to Mr. C. Gilpin acting for Neville Johnston was completed in October 1977. No contracts for the sale of Freddie's properties were completed although a sale document referring to these properties existed, signed by Freddie. This signature was not witnessed, not dated and there was no mention of a sale price and no signature from Mr. C. Gilpin acting for M/s Neville Johnson. How then did M/s Neville Johnson believe they had acquired the full legal estate or title to both properties when the agreement did not include Francis Street and an open agreement was left lying for years in Tughan & Co's office? Why was Mr. C. Gilpin permitted by his solicitor Mr. Bertie Wright to have access to all Freddie's affairs? Is this not a serious breach of privacy and against the ethics of the Law Society?
Paragraph 8. How was a short-term letting of my brother Freddie's showroom and ground negotiated when the Ryland Vehicle purchased this property? Was Neville Johnson paying rent to this group since their illegal takeover? How could you fix a rent without getting in touch with this company? Who represented the Ryland Group in this purchase of my brother's property?
Paragraph 9. Why were my family's professional representatives only told on 7th March '86 of what took place the previous day? I was not told by you. Why has every obstacle been put up against the family being heard since making Freddie a ward of Court?
We know the sales of Little King St and Winetavern St were not correct. Who offered them for sale? Why were these sales not discussed in the Courts? Where is the money for these, we believe, cash sales? All we are endeavouring to do is carry out my father's wishes for his son. Why make everything as difficult as possible to carry this out? Why is Freddie not protected by the Office of Care and Protection?
Paragraph 12. We understand from the Fraud Squad that no proper accounts were kept by Mr. C. Gilpin's solicitor Mr. Bertie Wright. We hope this will be brought to light when my sister Mrs. B. Hamilton's case comes to Court.
We have had great difficulty in hearing the Judge's remarks as did the Fraud Squad in all Court hearings.
We were not present or represented on 6th March '86 and have no comment to make.
Before you compiled your reports on information given to you by Mr. Bertie Wright and Tughan & Co you should have allowed the family access to your office and the Care and Protection Office in order to put our points forward. If we could have had meetings with you we would not have needed to compile such long letters, it would have been easier to put these facts to you verbally.
(Mrs) Vera Douglas.