Mrs Crossley drops landmark divorce claim

The Crossley divorce case has grounded to a halt after Susan Crossley dropped her claim to her ex-husband’s fortune.

The keenly awaited case was due to be heard in the High Court yesterday (Wednesday 13 February).

Susan Crossley had signed a prenuptial agreement when she married her property tycoon husband, Stuart Crossley, which stipulated that she would not lay claim to his millions if the marriage failed. She already had an accumulated wealth of £18m compared to his disclosed £45m.

Mrs Crossley’s lawyer, Raymond Tooth of Sears Tooth, had tried to argue that she was entitled to half the share of Mr Crossley’s wealth because, she claimed, he had not disclosed every aspect of his assets when the agreement was signed.

Her case was dealt a blow in December when one of the country’s most senior family judges, Lord Justice Thorpe, deputy head of Family Justice, stressed the “magnetic importance” of the pre-nuptial agreement in the case.

The hearing would have set a precedent for all other big money divorce cases where a pre-nuptial agreement had been signed. The Crossley case may even have had a subsequent impact on the groundbreaking £48m Charman divorce.

Insurance magnate John Charman was ordered to pay his ex-wife £48m in May 2007- the largest divorce settlement in legal history.

It is understood that his ex-wife, Beverly Charman, has instructed her lawyer Manches partner Helen Ward to pursue an enforcement order through the Bermudian courts because Mr Charman has failed to pay up.

The Crossley case would have reflected how far UK court orders can reach into foreign jurisdictions because Mr Crossley’s money is held in offshore accounts and could have had implications for John Charman’s defence.

Susan Crossley was on her fourth failed marriage from a millionaire, her previous husbands were Kevin Nicholson, heir to the Kwik Save fortune; Peter Lilley, adopted son of Thomas Lilley, chief of Lilley and Skinner shoes; and the racing magnate Robert Sangster.

Withers partner Mark Harper represented Stuart Crossley.