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Astronomers in will battle after stargazer left fortune to his unnamed ‘greatest mate’

The invention earned him a point out within the file books and he additionally featured on the long-running BBC astronomy present, The Sky at Night time, throughout which he was interviewed by Sir Patrick Moore.

He was an enthusiastic beginner astronomer, who had created an observatory utilizing home-built gear at his Northamptonshire property, and the invention was his first success after over 600 hours of looking.

He noticed the faint indicators of what would turn into “Comet Panther” inside the far north constellation of Draco whereas he was conducting a “systematic search” of the evening sky.

The then 54-year-old later stated in a tv interview that the extraordinary discovery would imply his title wouldn’t be “forgotten to posterity.”

Shortly after his success, he devoted his property to the BAA, in addition to small money sums to 2 mates and £10,000 plus his stargazing gear to Colin Eaton, the executor of the desire.

However Mr Gibbs now claims that whereas Mr Panther was in Northampton Basic Hospital in 2016, he dictated a brand new will, leaving all the pieces to his buddy.

Dated September 11 2016 – the month earlier than his dying – the brand new will states that “if I die” his property would go to “my greatest mate,” which Mr Gibbs argues can solely check with him.

‘Lifelong mates’

Mr Gibbs’ barrister, Chris Bryden, described the pair as “lifelong mates, having recognized one another for round 77 years” in paperwork filed at Central London County Court docket forward of subsequent yr’s trial.

He added: “The deceased dictated the phrases of the 2016 will to Mr Gibbs. It’s subsequently pure that he used a colloquial phrase, fairly than figuring out him by title.”

Nonetheless, the BAA denies that the 2016 hand-written doc was duly executed as a result of it didn’t truly title the beneficiary of the property, and so they raised questions over how the desire was witnessed.

The organisation additionally insisted that Mr Panther was very frail and susceptible on the time and subsequently didn’t totally perceive what he was doing.

The astronomer, who had dementia on the time, was hospitalised after he suffered a fall at dwelling and medical employees stated he was “discovering it obscure” communications.

Though he was beforehand described as an “articulate” man, he was reportedly “very confused” at hospital, the place his solely customer was Mr Gibbs.

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