1. ITV Report

Farmers' daughter wins fight for share of £7m estate

Eirian Davies, 45, has won her fight for a share of her parents' £7m estate. Photo: Nevile Ayling

A farmers' daughter who claimed she was 'left at home with a muck fork' while her two teenage sisters went dancing has won her fight for a fair share of her parents' £7m estate.

Eirian Davies, now 45, says she was repeatedly assured by her parents, Tegwyn and Mary Davies, now in their 70s, that she would ultimately step into their shoes and take over the family's thriving Henllan Farm in Whitland, Dyfed.

Miss Davies told the court hearing that she was paid nothing at all for her work on the farm until the age of 21, and that there was a period when she was paid £15 a day for milking the cows, although sometimes she received more.

Miss Davies said she was regularly told the farm would be left to her, with her father warning her "not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg" if she complained.

Matters between Miss Davies and her parents came to a head after she discovered their plans to split the farm equally between her and her two sisters, whom she said had no interest in farming at all.

Today three Appeal Court judges ruled Miss Davies was entitled to a fair stake in the 182-acre farm, saying her parents should be held to the promises they made her.

Tegwyn and Mary Davies, now in their 70s, said their daughter earned a fair income from working on their farm Credit: Nevile Ayling

At an earlier county court hearing, Judge Milwyn Jarman said Mr and Mrs Davies had become increasingly annoyed by their daughter's relationships following her divorce, adding part of this concern was not so much the men involved, but "any children that they had and how that may impact upon their duties to keep the business in the family".

Throughout the process, Mr and Mrs Davies also insisted their daughter had earned a fair income during her stints working on the farm and had been provided with free 'bed and board' among other benefits.

But today Lord Justice Floyd, sitting with Lords Justice Richards and Underhill, said Miss Davies had for years laboured under the impression that she was running the farm in partnership with her parents, and that she had received 'less than full recompense' for her contribution.

The appeal judge concluded: "This is in many ways a tragic case.

"The bitterness between the parties was such that each had few, if any, good words to say about the other.

"It is greatly to be hoped that they might now be able to resolve such remaining differences as they have in relation to Eirian's entitlement without recourse to further costly and divisive litigation".

Despite the intense friction in the family, the judge said it was to their credit that Miss Davies and her parents had, over the years, "by hard work, great skill and passionate dedication built up a prodigious Holstein pedigree milking herd and a highly successful business".