Northern Ireland news

Secretary who signed Sinn Féin donor's will 'was not aware of the scale of his assets'

Carmel Brady, now a Fine Gael councillor, was a signatory of William E. Hampton's will

THE only surviving signatory of a will which left £1.5 million to Sinn Féin has said she was not present when it was being discussed with a solicitor.

Carmel Brady, a legal secretary in Cootehill in Co Cavan, was one of two witnesses to the will of William Edward Hampton on June 27 1997.

Mr Hampton, a retired English mechanic bequeathed £1.5m of his wealth to Sinn Féin despite having no known links to the party or Irish republicanism.

When he wrote his will in 1997, his address was listed as 'no fixed abode' and stated he was living in a mobile home in the south-west of the Republic.

Ms Brady, now a Fine Gael councillor, told the News Letter that she was not present when the will was discussed with the solicitor.

She signed the document along with solicitor Niall Dolan and Mr Hampton.

Ms Brady said she had witnessed many wills and did not see Mr Hampton's as unusual.

But she said the will did not refer to the scale of his assets.

"If somebody said in a will 'I'm leaving £1m to somebody', you would register (that)," she said.

She said Mr Hampton had visited the office several times "always on his own" and that he had "a little tweed coat always on him and a little pair of glasses".

She said he mentioned he was "only visiting the area".

Ms Brady added that only in the last decade would solicitors ask clients to write down their bank account numbers, stocks and shares or other assets, "so you would never actually know what someone's assets were unless they told you".

Reclusive millionaire William E Hampton.

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