A top football agent has won an £800,000 court fight with a businessman over the will of the woman they both loved.
Barry Silkman, a former Man City midfielder turned multi-millionaire agent, split up with wife Ally Fuller in 2003. The pair had a daughter, Keenia, who is now 24.
In 2007 Ms Fuller fell for cyber security boss – and Mr Silkman’s former friend – Gaven Love, 44, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, and the pair got engaged.
They then moved in together in a four-bedroom house in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, that is now worth £800,000.
Ms Fuller died of primary bowel cancer in 2016, having broken up with Mr Love 13 months prior.
She left all her worldly goods to her actress daughter Keenia – but no share of the house was included, since it was bought in Mr Love’s sole name.
It led to a bitter battle at Central London County Court, with Mr Silkman – as administrator of Ms Fuller’s estate – suing his former friend for a share, claiming it belonged to his ex-wife and so should go to their daughter under her will.
Mr Silkman has now won his case, and a judge ruled that Keenia ‘should not be kept out of her inheritance’.
Speaking to MailOnline after the victory, Keenia said: ‘I’m just relieved that the truth was finally shown and proven, because my mum didn’t deserve to die the way that she did, she wasn’t even 50, and for her to have died and everything that she worked for to just be completely denied was heartbreaking.’
Barry Silkman (left) has now won his case, and a judge ruled that his daughter Keenia (right) ‘should not be kept out of her inheritance’
Keenia (left) and Ally Fuller (right). Speaking to MailOnline after the victory, Keenia said: ‘I’m just relieved that the truth was finally shown and proven’
Ally Fuller and Gaven Love. Keenia says her family will not ‘put (Mr Love) in a position to say we want to sell you have to leave’
Keenia, who was only 19 when her mother died, added: ‘Now I feel I can finally mourn her and grieve her.
‘The truth’s out, that’s what matters.’
She said her father and Mr Love were still friendly until he ‘completely denied’ any interest in the property being hers.
The court will reconvene on May 13 to establish costs. Keenia says her family will not ‘put (Mr Love) in a position to say we want to sell you have to leave’.
‘Our goal has never been to demoralise Gaven or put him in a position where he has to go and live back with his parents, that’s never been our intention,’ she said.
Keenia told MailOnline her parents had stayed best friends, even after their breakup, and Mr Silkman had financially and emotionally supported Ms Fuller, taking turns with Keenia to stay with her in hospital.
‘The only way I can describe my dad is the most generous and loving and kind-hearted person,’ Keenia said. ‘You don’t hear of many men who get divorced and still support their ex wife as much as he did.’
Ally Fuller with Billy Ocean. Ms Fuller died of primary bowel cancer in 2016, having broken up with Mr Love 13 months prior
Pictured: Ally Fuller (in the foreground) with her daughter Keenia Silkman. Ms Fuller died of primary bowel cancer in 2016, having broken up with Mr Love 13 months prior
Pictured: Ally Fuller. The judge made an order for sale of the property, saying: ‘Ms Fuller’s daughter Keenia shouldn’t be kept out of her inheritance’
Central London County Court heard that, by the time the house was bought in Mr Love’s sole name in October 2012, he and Ms Fuller had been a couple for five years and engaged for two.
The purchase price was £545,000, with £82,000 put up as a deposit and the rest covered by a mortgage.
They separated in 2015 and Ms Fuller shortly afterwards revealed she was suffering from terminal cancer. She then moved back in with Mr Silkman in his £2 million home in Northaw, Hertfordshire.
The football agent told Central London County Court he spent £250,000 on cutting-edge treatment in a bid to save his ex’s life but she died in 2016, leaving everything to daughter Keenia in her last will, with Mr Silkman appointed to administer the estate.
Mr Silkman, whose past clients have included Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa and Premier League legend Yakubu, then asked Mr Love to give over a half share of the equity in the property.
He claimed that Ms Fuller put tens of thousands of pounds towards the purchase price of the house and that her share should now go to Keenia in her will.
Pictured: The £800,000 house that Barry Silkman claimed was half owned by his ex Ally Fuller
But Mr Love denied ever needing to lean on Ms Fuller financially and insisted they always agreed the house was his alone.
He said he did not need to borrow money from Ms Fuller or rely on her input to the house because he was ‘in such a strong financial position’ that he could afford to help her out financially.
In his witness statement, Mr Love detailed how he paid the deposit on a Porsche 911 turbo for Ms Fuller when they were together and was himself driving a Ferrari.
Giving evidence, Mr Silkman denied this proved Mr Love was so rich he didn’t need Ms Fuller’s money.
‘I drove around in a white Rolls Royce Ghost and I was almost skint,’ he told Judge Alan Johns QC.
‘I did it to get more players on my books and it worked, so the answer to that question is no.’
A letter from beyond the grave written by Ms Fuller and later discovered unsent on her computer was put before the judge by Mr Silkman.
Addressed to Mr Love and titled ‘a few home truths’ it set out that it had been agreed between them from the start that the house would be both their property.
Mr Love claimed the letter was ‘a fabrication’ but ruling in favour of Mr Silkman and his daughter, Judge Johns threw out that claim.
‘The authenticity of the letter is challenged,’ he said, adding, ‘This is a case in which the findings of fact are difficult.
‘One of the witnesses, Ms Fuller, is tragically no longer able to give evidence, having lost her life young to cancer.
‘But the job of the court is to determine the facts.
‘I have decided that the letter is not a fabrication. There are some points that raise suspicion…but fabrication is too elaborate and polished to be the explanation here.’
There was a bitter battle at Central London County Court, with Mr Silkman – as administrator of Ms Fuller’s estate – suing his former friend for a share, claiming it belonged to his ex-wife and so should go to their daughter under her will
Backing Mr Silkman’s argument that there had been an agreement that Ms Fuller and Mr Love be joint owners by way of a ‘common intention constructive trust,’ the judge explained: ‘A common intention constructive trust requires that the parties had an agreement that they would have a shared interest in the property together with detrimental reliance on that agreement.
‘The first question is whether Ms Fuller contributed significantly to the purchase of the property. I have reached the conclusion that she did make a substantial contribution to the purchase of the property in the sum of £35,000 to £40,000. Her bank statements support a contribution of that level.’
He found that there had been a ‘more or less a 50/50 contribution to the deposit’ between Ms Fuller and Mr Love.
‘This was to be a shared family home. I find that Ms Fuller made a direct contribution to the purchase,’ he concluded, ruling that half of the equity in the £800,000 house should go into her estate.
The judge went on to make an order for sale of the property, saying: ‘Ms Fuller’s daughter Keenia shouldn’t be kept out of her inheritance’.
The judge also said that Mr Love, who didn’t oppose the order for sale, should be given first refusal in buying out Keenia’s share of the house ‘so he can keep his home.’
The exact figure Mr Love must pay and the amount of court costs he will be hit with will be decided at a further hearing.