'Greedy' failed actress, 47, sues brother and sister over £3m estate

A failed actress has been branded a 'greedy liar' by her millionaire mother after launching a High Court claim to a share of the family's £3million country estate.

Tamara Lucas, 47, claims she was told from her childhood that one day she and her younger brother and sister would share the family's 26-acre Grade-II listed Berkshire pile.

Relying on her mother Mel Gatward's promise that 'she would be rich anyway', she says she put hopes of a highly-paid law career to one side. 

She instead pursued her dream of becoming an actress but despite appearing on TV and stage, she was not a great success. 

Her mother later decided instead to hand the keys of Sandleford Place, near Newbury, to her younger brother Alex Gatward.

The move has resulted in a 'bitterly acrimonious' High Court dispute which has already run up lawyers' bills totaling over £800,000, with Tamara suing siblings Alex, 45, and Laura Gatward, 39, over what she says is her rightful share of the nine-bed house and grounds.

Tamara Lucas, 47, is suing her family

Alex Gatward has been gifted the family home

Tamara Lucas, left, is suing her siblings over her share of the family's 26-acre Grade-II listed Berkshire pile. Her mother has handed the keys of Sandleford Place, near Newbury, to her younger brother Alex Gatward, right

Now worth around £3m, the estate comprises a nine-bedroom, seven-bathroom house with five reception rooms, 19 acres of paddock and pasture, and seven acres of ornamental gardens which open to visitors several times a year through the National Garden Scheme

Now worth around £3m, the estate comprises a nine-bedroom, seven-bathroom house with five reception rooms, 19 acres of paddock and pasture, and seven acres of ornamental gardens which open to visitors several times a year through the National Garden Scheme

Matriarch Thelma 'Mel' Gatward chose to give the estate to her son Alex because she feared that the 'troublesome nature' of her 'intolerably messy' daughter would make any sharing of the property impossible

Matriarch Thelma 'Mel' Gatward chose to give the estate to her son Alex because she feared that the 'troublesome nature' of her 'intolerably messy' daughter would make any sharing of the property impossible

Tamara says her siblings conspired together to cut her out of her inheritance and that her mother giving the house to Alex was a way of covering up a plan to disinherit her of her share in a 'great family wealth.'

But the siblings, backed by their parents Alan and Mel Gatward, deny doing anything wrong and say it was 'financially irresponsible' of Tamara to continue to pursue her acting dream for a decade.

She chose to become an actress and took the risk of ending up with a low income, they claim, but had also already been provided for generously by her parents, who bought her a flat when she was still a student at Edinburgh University.

Tamara had already received 'very generous financial provision' from her parents, who bought her a flat when she was a student and helped her with further property purchases afterwards, the court heard.

Climbing the housing ladder, she now owns properties worth about £2m, from which she receives a rental income.

Mrs Gatward chose to give the estate to Alex alone because she feared that the 'troublesome nature' of her 'intolerably messy' daughter would make any sharing of the property impossible, the siblings' lawyers say.

Mrs Gatward told a judge: 'My life has been completely ruined by my daughter's greed and intransigence and her lies and insistence on claiming what she is not entitled to.'

Mrs Gatward says the family made its money when Alan Gatward turned his father's paper company into a thriving international wallpaper supplier which turned over up to £28m a year before he sold up in the 1980s.

Ms Lucas pursued her dream of becoming an actress but despite appearing on TV and stage (pictured), but was not a great success

Ms Lucas pursued her dream of becoming an actress but despite appearing on TV and stage (pictured), but was not a great success

Ms Lucas pursued her dream of becoming an actress but despite appearing on TV and stage (pictured), but was not a great success

The family home was bought through an offshore company controlled by his wife Thelma, who is known as Mel, and they moved there after the sale of the business.

Now worth between £2.65m and £3m, the estate comprises a nine-bedroom, seven-bathroom house with five reception rooms, 19 acres of paddock and pasture, and seven acres of

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