Susan Shields Tearing Apart Family Empire-”$3.75 Million Dollars not enough”

Judge’s despair at millionaire’s greedy family ‘tearing itself apart’ in bitter High Court divorce battle over £50m engineering fortune

Richard Shields

Susan ShieldsRichard and Susan Shield were married for 43 years but are now divorcing She fears she and their three daughters will lose out on millions to their son.

Costs in High Court battle which has just begun are already set to hit £1m. Mr Justice Holman said case fills him with ‘nothing but despair’



A judge has spoken of his ‘utmost despair’ over a £50million engineering dynasty ‘tearing itself apart’ in a costly divorce battle.

Susan Shield, 69, is divorcing her tycoon husband Richard, 72, after 43 years of marriage, but fears she and their three daughters face losing millions because he plans to pass the bulk of his business to their only son, Christopher, 35.

Judge Sir James Holman made his rare expression of personal sorrow over the ‘extremely tragic’ case Justice Holmanbecause costs are already set to hit £1million even though it has barely begun

The family is engaged in what he described as ‘intense conflict’ over Mr Shield’s plans for his engineering firm, founded by his late father Arthur in 1949.

 Mrs Shield – who has already secured a decree nisi but not yet a decree absolute – is particularly concerned by her estranged husband’s actions because he has had psychiatric problems and been placed under ‘compulsory detainment.

A neighbour last night said that Mr Shield had ‘so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it’.  But despite his millions, his main cars are an ageing Range Rover, a 1960s Mini and a pick-up truck.

He is currently back in the former marital mansion next to one of their factories, in Queniborough, Leicestershire, while Mrs Shield is living with one of their three daughters – Alexandra, 40, Nicola, 38, and Fiona, 30.

UK-Royal Courts of Justice

Yesterday at the High Court, in a ruling on the case following arguments about Mr Shield’s legal representation, Mr Justice Holman said: ‘I have been faced with a situation that is extremely tragic and appears unedifying.’

He said that while Mrs Shield had an agreed share of  5 per cent – £2.5million – of their fortune, there was dispute over whether the whole £50million was being held in trust for their only son, Christopher.

Decisions over the fortune’s future made by Mr Shield some years ago, said the judge, ‘appear to have favoured the son in preference to the daughters and to be to the disadvantage of the wife’.

At the end of the hearing yesterday, Mr Justice Holman said:

‘I have to say, as I leave this very long day, that I do so with a feeling of the utmost despair that this family could have spent three quarters of a million pounds just to get to this stage.

This family appears to be tearing itself apart, and it fills the sympathetic but detached observer such as myself with nothing but despair.’

The case is due to reopen later this month. Richard and Christopher Shield yesterday declined to discuss the hearing.

Local restaurateur David Van Hien, 46, said Richard Shield was well-known in the area.

He added: ‘He’s quite a character. He’s absolutely eccentric but a likeable chap. He wears a flat cap and is sometimes scruffily dressed. He has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it.’

Last night a source close to the family said: ‘I totally endorse the judge’s words – just chucking money at lawyers like this is absolutely stupid. It all comes down to the whole business being signed over to Christopher.  But an angry woman will stop at nothing to get her share of the spoils – even if those spoils are going to be depleted by her activities.’

{The Glaring Questions the forum asks is:  Is it possible that corporate holdings of the Sheilds Company are capitol of the company need for continued operation of the commercial entrprise and NOT for liquidation?  How many corporate entities come under attack and are devastated in these ridiculous divorce proceeding with no thought to the consequence of commercial enterprise and the affect others who rely on it?  These most critical issues are RARELY if ever considered when it comes to the Greedy lawyers and their clients}

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