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Dementia widow’s family lose out to her secret husband

Marriage:
Joan Blass
was 90
when she
wed in
secret,
voiding
her will PICTURE: SWNS

A FORMER tax inspector who secretly married a dementia-suffering gran 23 years his senior inherited her estate when she died five months later.

The woman’s daughter now wants a law banning ‘predatory marriage’ — when someone does not have the mental capacity to agree to wed.

Daphne Franks believes that is what happened to her widowed mum Joan Blass, who was 90 and had severe vascular dementia when she married Colman Folan.

Mrs Franks, 62, was ‘shocked’ to learn of the wedding after her mother died of cancer.

The marriage meant the former teacher’s will, written ten years earlier, was void. So her estate would no longer be left to Mrs Franks and her brother Michael Blass, 53.

Instead, it went to Mr Folan as next of kin. He had moved into Mrs Blass’s home four years earlier and acted as her carer. They were married in Blackpool in October 2015 without informing any of her family. Mrs Franks, who lived next door, said: ‘Mum never told anyone about the marriage, because she did not remember she was married and Folan never told anyone either.’

Mrs Franks lost a court battle over funeral plans and had to the sell Mr Folan her half of her mother’s home, left to her by her late father, to cover the £200,000 legal bill.

A complaint to police failed to result in a prosecution, as the CPS said there ‘was not sufficient evidence’ to proceed. Mrs Franks’s former MP Fabian Hamilton last week presented a private members’ bill on ‘predatory marriage’.

Mr Folan earlier this year described his relationship with Mrs Blass as ‘loving’.