Dead Fife tycoon was ‘sexual predator’ court hears

Mr Stewart's will was challenged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Picture: Julie Bull
Mr Stewart's will was challenged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Picture: Julie Bull
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A DEAD millionaire property tycoon, who was honoured for his charity work, has been exposed as a sexual predator and child abuser, as a result of a court action over his will.

Alfred “Alf” Stewart, from Fife, who was 71 when he died, had run a successful construction company, Richmond Homes (Scotland), but he cut his children out of his £6.7 million estate, leaving the money instead to a medical/community trust to be set up in his name.

FOR PROPERTY SUPPLEMENT.........'ALFRED STEWART PROPERTY DEVELOPER ON SITE IN DUNFERMLINE.'PIC;LESLEY DONALD

FOR PROPERTY SUPPLEMENT.........'ALFRED STEWART PROPERTY DEVELOPER ON SITE IN DUNFERMLINE.'PIC;LESLEY DONALD

Previously, he had funded a cancer unit in his late wife’s name at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, and had been made an MBE.

His two sons and two daughters challenged the will at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, insisting that Mr Stewart had not been of sound mind when he made it.

Lord Brailsford heard differing accounts of how Mr Stewart had behaved in public and in private, including evidence from an MSP, Helen Eadie.

The judge said he felt compelled to conclude that Mr Stewart had been “sexually predatory, selfish and careless for the feelings and wellbeing of others”.

He held that Mr Stewart had propositioned three women, and also accepted evidence that he had indecently assaulted a child.

“The assaults were plainly very serious criminal behaviour, albeit I use that characterisation very cautiously against a person who is dead and who has had no opportunity to respond to the allegations,” said Lord Brailsford.

He added that Mr Stewart’s behaviour might have been “repugnant”, but it did not shed light on whether he had the mental capacity to make his will.

Lord Brailsford ruled that Mr Stewart had been mentally fit enough, and that the will should stand.

His sons, Garry Stewart, 49, of Dollar, Clackmannanshire, and Calum Stewart, 45, of Edinburgh, and his daughters, Linden Stephen, 46, and Leonie Griffin, 44, both of Edinburgh, could try to appeal the decision.

Calum Stewart gave evidence of an unhappy childhood with a father who was “strict and controlling, and possessing a short temper”.

In 1997, both sons were working for Richmond Homes but they were on the end of Mr Stewart’s “erupting like a volcano” when he said to them: “You pair of bastards, you’ve caused 30 years of misery to me.”

The split in the family was never healed. Calum Stewart said he never spoke to his father again.

Many other witnesses, such as Mrs Eadie, who came to know Mr Stewart through his charitable work in Dunfermline, all spoke positively of him. Psychiatrists told Lord Brailsford that Mr Stewart suffered from a paranoid personality disorder.

The judge said: “The conclusions I feel compelled to draw from the evidence of ‘sexual disinhibition’ are not favourable to his moral character.

“Whilst he was… clearly a driven man capable of ruthless and even harsh behaviour at times, close examination of the evidence does not suggest that his behaviour was the result of delusional thoughts.

“I am not satisfied [the children] have established that there were periods when his disorder was of such delusional intensity as to deprive him of testamentary capacity.”