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Limerick Aviator's Romantic Will Case Resolved in Court |

Limerick Aviator’s Romantic Will Case Resolved in Court

In a captivating legal battle surrounding the late Lieutenant Arthur, a promising aviator who tragically met his end at Montrose, a probate suit has been concluded, shedding light on a romantic attachment that captured the headlines. The case, heard before Mr Justice Kenny, featured Mr Thomas George Gabbett Studdert and Mr William Ropner as plaintiffs, with Mr Charles Wm. Augustus Arthur as the defendant. The dispute centred around the last will of Desmond Lucius Arthur, who perished in a flying accident on May 27th.

The plaintiffs sought to establish and obtain probate for the will dated July 17, 1912, claiming to be the rightful executors. On the other hand, the defendant, the brother, and sole next-of-kin of the deceased aviator, contested the validity of the will, arguing that it was not duly executed and that the deceased did not fully approve of its contents.

In a courtroom drama that unfolded, Counsel for the plaintiffs, led by Mr Ropner, presented a compelling case. They highlighted the romantic subplot involving Lieutenant Arthur and a young Miss Ropner, aged only fourteen and the daughter of plaintiff Mr Ropner. The court learned that, upon the aviator’s untimely demise, a miniature of Miss Ropner was discovered on his body, suggesting a profound romantic attachment.

By the terms of the will, the entire estate amounting to £12,500 was bequeathed to Miss Ropner. However, Lieutenant Arthur requested that £1,000 be given to his brother, the defendant, if Miss Ropner desired it. The plaintiffs aimed to honour these wishes through the legal proceedings.

Mr Ropner, one of the plaintiffs, testified and confirmed the authenticity of Lieutenant Arthur’s signature on the will. He expressed his intent to fulfil the deceased’s request regarding the £1,000 bequest to his brother. Additional witnesses, such as Lieutenant Hugh Wilmer, provided insights into the circumstances surrounding the signing of the will.

However, a twist in the tale occurred when witnesses claimed to have no recollection of the events surrounding the will’s execution. Despite this, Mr Justice Kenny found the holographic document, entirely in the handwriting of the testator, valid. He determined that the signatures of the witnesses, though added later, were authentic.

Addressing the court, Mr Justice Kenny expressed satisfaction that the document accurately reflected the testamentary wishes of the deceased. He noted that Lieutenant Arthur’s primary concern was providing for the young Miss Ropner. As a result, the court decreed probate in solemn form, affirming the validity of the will.

The case, described by Mr Justice Kenny as “very interesting,” captivated the legal community and the public alike. The romantic undertones and the aviation backdrop added a unique dimension to the probate proceedings. Despite the lack of recollection by witnesses, the court’s decision to honour the testator’s wishes resolved the case in favour of the plaintiffs.

As the legal proceedings concluded, the spotlight now shifts away from the courtroom, leaving behind a tale of romance, tragedy, and a final testament that binds the legacy of a fallen aviator to the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl from Limerick.

Evening Herald (Dublin) – Wednesday 04 February 1914

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