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EXECUTOR SISTER TAKES COP TO COURT

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MBABANE – A police officer is reportedly threatening the executor of his mother’s estate, Antoinette Charmaine Horton, who is also his sister.    

Their mother, Jean Horton nee Johnston, died of COVID-19-related complications and her son Branham Horton, who is a police officer, is purportedly now refusing to grant the executor access to assets of the estate. Branham is also allegedly threatening the executor and further refusing to hand over the keys to her late mother’s house for purposes of having it fumigated.

The executor has since moved an urgent application at the High Court, where she is seeking an order directing Branham to maintain peace and order towards her.

She contended that Branham was placing himself, as well as third parties, at risk of contracting the virus, as the premises had not been fumigated following the demise of their mother, who died of COVID-19 complications.

The executor is further praying for an order directing the police officer to forthwith hand over to her the keys to the deceased’s home situated at Farm 281 Grandvalley in the Manzini Region.

Other respondents in the matter are Brenda Phindi Horton, Charlotte Horton, the Master of the High Court of Eswatini and the national commissioner of police.

Antoinette averred that in terms of clause six of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased, she bequeathed her house at Grandvalley as well as property at Nhlambeni to Branham.  According to the executor, from the point of reading of the Will to date, Branham had allegedly forcefully remained in possession of the keys to the premises and reportedly refused to allow anybody into the premises as he maintained it was in terms of the Will.

“Our mother died of COVID-19, a fact known to the first respondent (Branham), the homestead at Farm 281 Grandvalley has not and cannot be fumigated as he continues to deny the executrix access to the premises,” contended the applicant (executor).

Violent

She further brought it to the attention of the court that Branham was extremely violent towards any person who attempted to reason with him to hand over the keys.

“On January 8, 2021 and out of sheer frustration and in fear for her own safety and that of third parties that may attempt to enter the premises, the executor approached the Master of the High Court’s offices in Manzini to attempt to reason with Branham,” alleged the applicant.

These are allegations whose veracity is still to be tested in court.

The Assistant Master, Makhosazane Mdluli, according to the executor, telephoned Branham to request audience with him to discuss the matter. She alleged that Branham refused to attend to the assistant master’s request and instead reportedly hurled insults at her and persisted in his refusal to hand over the keys.

“From that point until today, he continues to harass employees of the homestead and to refuse anyone access to the premises. In an attempt to mitigate the situation, the executrix has since hired a security guard and affixed chains to the gates in an attempt to keep third parties out of the premises,” averred the executor.

It was further her submission that she had a prima facie right to access assets of the deceased in order to properly execute her functions as such.

The executor further narrated to the court as Branham was allegedly threatening her and refusing her access to the premises, she was unable to prepare an inventory or to fumigate the premises.   She highlighted that there were also assets on the premises that had been bequeathed to third parties in terms of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased.

The matter is pending before Judge Nkosinathi Maseko and appearing for the executor is Michael Mngadi of MJ Hillary Attorneys in Manzini.

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