Appleby Castle

A husband worth millions has offered his ex-wife just £83 in a divorce settlement.

Christopher Nightingale offered his former wife Sally Nightingale just £83 – that eighty three pounds – in a divorce settlement.  Mrs Nightingale continues to live in the 12th century, grade 1 listed Appleby Castle, which includes 29 acres of Cumbrian countryside. The couple divorced in 2009 and the matter seemed to have been settled. However, Mr Nightingale was still due to receive payment from selling his share in a multi-million pound company which he helped to found.

In emails sent to his ex-wife last July, Mr Nightingale agreed to give her a quarter of his holding in the Dublin computer systems firm, which declared a profit of almost £3 million in its most recent accounts.

However, Mr Nightingale now says that his ex-wife’s share amounts to only £83, saying that after the sale had been made he received only £330. Previously he had expected to receive over £6.6 million pounds for his share in the company, but explained that the sale had been complicated and that due to unforeseen circumstances he came out of the deal with a lot less than expected.

The court has criticised Mr Nightingale for making such vastly different financial offers to his ex-wife. The judge, Mr Justice Holman, said that it was “a matter of astonishment” that Mr Nightingale sold his shares for such a low price after last summer proclaiming that they were worth £6.6 million.

He went on to add, ‘It is obvious that so vast a divergence between what the husband was saying as recently as July and what he is saying now requires particular explanation.’

‘In the absence of any convincing documentary material and explanations, there is a likelihood….that the court will place significant reliance on what he himself told the wife she might expect to receive.’

Sally Nightingale told the Sunday Times: ‘I’m not greedy. I’m asset rich but cash poor and need that money to pay the costs of the castle.”

‘He’s trying to starve me out but I intend to fight for the money he promised.’

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