The £1.2billion family behind Littlewoods Pools were yesterday ordered to pay £1.4million to their grandson, after a row over inheritance made it to the High Court.
Matthew Velarde, a grandson of one of the founders of the Littlewoods retail and betting company, convinced a judge that he was entitled to an equal share with his siblings of his mother’s estate.
But who are the Moores and where did their billion-pound fortune come from?
It was 1923 when John Moore and his brother Cecil, the two sons of a bricklayer from Lancashire, came up with the idea to launch pools betting.
The duo started selling them outside Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground later that year.
Their idea failed at first, costing them all their initial investors, but in 1932, after a decade of losses, word started to get out.
The company started expanding, and quickly grew into one of the biggest football pools business in the world – even sponsoring the FA Cup.
The duo later went on to buy shares in Liverpool and Everton football clubs.
The business later expanded into mail-order retailing, selling catalogue products to households – mostly women – under the Littlewoods brand.
The mail-order business expanded and the first Littlewoods high-street store opened in 1937 in Blackpool. At its height, there were about 25,000 employees working there.
In 1982, it was the largest private company in Europe and the largest family-owned firm in the UK.
The Moores, who at one point, were wealthier than the Queen, are one of the UK’s richest families thanks to their £1.21billion wealth.
Liverpool’s John Moores University is named after Sir John, who died in 1993 at 97 and both brothers feature as statues on Liverpool’s Church Street.
In 2002, the Littlewoods company was sold to the owners of the Telegraph Newspapers, the Barclay brothers, for £750million, leaving many members of the Moores family with large fortunes.
However, after the death of Cecil’s daughter, Patricia Moores, in 2017, aged 86 at her home on the Isle of Man, his grandchildren began a legal battle over her share of the family millions.
It has been reported that Patricia received £25million from the sale of Littlewoods and on her death at 86, left a £40million estate a £2million mansion and a large trust fund behind.
Her three children, Christian, 63, Rebecca and Matthew Velarde, 61, went to court in a dispute over the meaning of her will.
The High Court heard that Patricia had received the trust fund before the death of her father and appointed her three children as equal beneficiaries in 1981, only to change her mind in 1997 and cut out Matthew after his divorce.
The trust fund was meant to be split at the time of her death but the legal row between her children over whether Matthew had been cut out of that part of the estate led to a four-year delay in its distribution.
Christian argued that he and Rebecca were the beneficiaries of the fund, which was set to pay out an undisclosed sum on their mother’s death.
Matthew maintained that a clause in the will demonstrated that his mother intended to let him back into an equal share of the trust with his siblings.
Ruling in Matthew’s favour yesterday, Deputy Master Martin Dray described the will as “ambiguous”.
However, the judge said that Patricia had twice clearly stated: “I wish in my will all my worldwide assets to be taken into account and divided equally between my three children.”
He ruled that as a result “Christian, Rebecca and Matthew are each beneficiaries under the settlement in equal shares”. The judge did not disclose the value of the trust that the three siblings will now share.
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