A frail pensioner who 'slogged his heart out' to buy a home for his retirement is locked in a bitter legal battle with his son - who wants him out.
Neville Paull claims he has been 'stitched up' and condemned as 'an effing lodger' by his 'uncaring and greedy' son, Bradley, 52.
The 76-year-old spent decades working in the print industry, and climbed his way up the property ladder through 'hard work and self sacrifice'.
In the early 1990s he finally bought his dream home in St Albans, Hertfordshire, which is now worth around $850,000.
But eight years ago Mr Paull transferred the property to his son, his barrister, Marc Beaumont, told the High Court.
The apparently generous move, has now backfired.
Bradley has asked his father and his severely disabled partner to leave, saying he 'requires the property for his own use'.
But, in a bid to live on in his home, Mr Paull is now asking Judge Timothy Bowles to undo the transfer and hand him back the house.
Branding his son workshy, he told the judge: 'He knows how to get through life without working Monday to Friday'.
Mr Beaumont told the judge: 'The stakes are high indeed. If Mr Paull loses, he loses his home in his old age'.
Bradley, however, insists that his father is no 'sheep' and the transfer was entirely his idea.
His barrister, Ewan Paton, 'emphatically denied' that he had in any way 'exploited' his father.
Condemning the pensioner's 'spiteful assertions' against his son, Mr Paton said he was 'very far from being a poor or ignorant person.'
But Mr Paull said of Bradley: 'He used to be a different person, a nice man, and he is not now because he is so money motivated.
'He doesn't care, it's just money money money.'
He added that he would never have given his home to his son 'without a promise' that he and his disabled partner, Linda could stay there for life.
Although his memory of the 2010 transfer was patchy, he insisted he just signed documents where his son told him to plant his name.
The pensioner added: 'I never questioned him'.
'He said he would look after the house for me. I loved the house and wanted to remain living in it. I still do.'
Mr Paull said 'nothing was supposed to change' after the transfer and 'for years after that, nothing did change'.
Mr Paull said Bradley told him, 'you're an effing lodger in my house'.
Accusing his son of only being interested in money, he added: 'I worked hard all my life while he just sat back and thought 'this is a gift dropping into my hands'.
'I listened to Bradley and I got stitched up. Eight years later on he is slaughtering me, telling me to get out of my house,' he told the judge.
Mr Beaumont claimed Bradley had taken 'unfair advantage' of the relationship of trust between father and son.
The transfer of the house was an 'unconscionable bargain' that should 'shock the conscience of the court', he added.
Bradley's ownership of the house had, until 'very recently', been kept secret from Mr Paull's three other children, said the barrister.
'Mr Paull's daughter was appalled to discover what had happened in 2010 and she has been steadfast in helping her father to bring this claim,' he added.
For Mr Paull, said the barrister, ownership of the home he bought in 1993 was a 'much-vaunted emblem of elevation out of the working class'.
At the time of the transfer, Mr Paull had 'unquestioning trust and confidence' that Bradley would 'do the right thing' by him and his other children.
Although Bradley had offered his father £100,000 to move out, that was only 'between a sixth and an eighth of the equity' in the mortgage free property.
Mr Paton, however, argued that the property transfer was a straightforward 'freely made gift' between father and son.
The reason recorded by the solicitor who advised Mr Paull was that he wanted his children, rather than his step-children, to have the house.
The pensioner may also have been concerned about inheritance tax and the risk of future care home fees eating into the value of his home.
The barrister added: 'It is emphatically denied that Bradley did anything amounting to exploitation of his father, in any way, let alone in a morally culpable manner.
And he said of Mr Paull: 'While it now suits his purposes to describe himself as a 'sheep', he was no such thing in 2010, nor is he now.'
The pensioner had painted himself as a 'poor ignorant person', at the mercy of his son's influence.
But the barrister added: 'This is a gross mis-characterisation, years after the event, of Mr Paull's character, knowledge, ability and understanding'.
He was advised by a solicitor and 'Bradley's case is that the suggestion of the transfer came wholly from Mr Paull.'
Mr Paton accepted that Bradley has asked his father and Linda to leave, 'since he now requires the property for his own use.'
But he added: 'Mr Paull and his partner have had the continued benefit for over eight years of living in the property rent-free'.
The judge has now reserved his decision on the case and will give his ruling at a later date.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.