Chinese lawyer, 54, who married 94-year-old millionaire widower when he put out an advert offering free Christmas dinner in return for company denies ‘dumping him in the cheapest possible grave’ after taking all his money

A Chinese lawyer who married a 93-year-old millionaire widower 11 months before his death has denied ‘dumping her husband in the cheapest possible grave’ after taking all his money. 

Guixiang Qin married wealthy retired butcher Robert Harrington in June 2019 – less than a year before he died.

The trained lawyer from China met the ‘generous, cute and humorous’ Mr Harrington after he put an advert in a newspaper, offering free Christmas dinner in return for company, a judge heard.

Mrs Qin moved into his home in Kings Lynn, Norfolk the month after they met in January 2019 and married soon afterwards.

Mr Harrington died in May 2020, having changed his will two months earlier to cut out his only child, Jill Langley, 70, and leave his estate, estimated at around £1million, to his new bride.

Now, Jill Langley is suing her late father’s widow after she was cut out of his will, with Mrs Qin denying allegations that she ‘dumped him in the cheapest possible grave… once you had got all his money’. 

Guixiang Qin, 54, moved into Robert Harrington's home in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, the month after they met in January 2019

Guixiang Qin, 54, moved into Robert Harrington’s home in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, the month after they met in January 2019

Robert Harrington with two children many years ago

Robert Harrington with two children many years ago

Robert Harrington's daughter Jill Langley, 70, arrives at Central London County Court

Robert Harrington’s daughter Jill Langley, 70, arrives at Central London County Court

Mrs Qin told Central London County Court she originally came to the UK to study for a law MBA and had no need for cash.

She met Mr Harrington in January 2019 after responding to a newspaper advert he had posted offering ‘free food and drink over Christmas’ in return for company, she told Recorder Robert McAllister.

She ended up making contact with him in the New Year, she said, and soon after he took her on an outing to the seaside.

‘We had fish and chips and I paid for it,’ she said, commenting: ‘For me he was just a very gentle person – a gentleman’.

Mrs Langley’s barrister, James McKean, said the courtship seemed a ‘whirlwind romance’, adding: ‘So this relationship developed extremely fast?’ ‘Yes,’ she replied.

‘What did you see in him when you met him?’ asked Mr McKean, continuing: ‘He told you at that first meeting that he had three cars didn’t he?’ suggesting that Mr Harrington had ‘bragged’ to her about his cars and ‘told you that he was a millionaire’.

‘No,’ she countered. ‘He didn’t tell me that.’

The barrister highlighted bank statements, which he claimed showed that between October 2018 to May 2020 Mr Harrington had been virtually cleaned out by Mrs Qin.

‘From October 2018 to May 2020, you took nearly every penny he had didn’t you?’ he put to her.

‘No, and in October 2018 I didn’t even go to his home,’ said Mrs Qin. ‘I had not met him yet.’

Mr McKean claimed the grave bought for Mr Harrington was shoddy and has been poorly maintained since his death, while Mrs Qin revealed that she paid £640 for the gravestone.

‘You only spent £640 because you had taken all the other money,’ the barrister suggested, but she told the court: ‘When Mr Harrington was still alive I talked about this with him and he told me not to be extravagant about this’.

‘All Mr Harrington was for you was an opportunity to make money,’ said Mrs Langley’s barrister. ‘Once you had got all his money, you dumped him in the cheapest possible grave – that’s right, isn’t it?’

‘No,’ Mrs Qin insisted, denying the barrister’s suggestion that she hadn’t ‘even bothered to maintain the grave properly’.

Mr Harrington’s daughter, Mrs Langley, is also claiming that her stepmother ignored her father’s wish that he should be buried alongside his late wife of 66 years, who had died in 2018.

But Mrs Qin said Mr Harrington was interred separately from his first wife because: ‘he said he loved me and would rather be buried near me’.

Mr McKean accused her of ‘taking advantage of him to enter into a predatory marriage’, adding that she later ‘pressured or persuaded your husband to make that will’.

Mrs Qin denied the claims against her, insisting: ‘Robert loved me very much and I loved him too’.

Mrs Qin, speaking through a translator, told the court she ‘never asked for his money’ and loved her husband for his sense of humour and passion for singing and dancing around the home.

Labelling the wealthy ex-butcher ‘adorable’ she said she told Mr Harrington she didn’t need his cash, although she would notice that he had paid money into her account.

‘So many times he told me that he would give me money, but I didn’t ask for it, I told him that I didn’t need it,’ she told the judge.

‘I knew he was a special and great person and also that (he) was very generous to everyone, and also he was very cute and humorous and when at leisure he would sing and watch TV.’

She had been beguiled by Mr Harrington’s charm, Mrs Qin told the court, adding that the pensioner had also taught her to cook traditional household recipes such as roast chicken, and his favourite ham and beef dishes.

‘He was very into music and loved singing and dancing, sometimes when we were watching TV he would sing to me. He knew every song there was on TV, and he told me his childhood story,’ she told the court.

Mrs Langley’s barrister challenged Mrs Qin about her claims that she only met her future husband in January 2019, suggesting they had met in 2018 or 2017, when she allegedly took on work as a paid carer for Mr Harrington’s then wife, Eileen.

The former home of Robert Harrington in Gayton Road, Kings Lynn, Norfolk

The former home of Robert Harrington in Gayton Road, Kings Lynn, Norfolk

‘You were that carer, weren’t you?’ the barrister asked, but Mrs Qin denied this, saying: ‘I wasn’t there’.

She explained that after seeing Mr Harrington’s newspaper advert ‘inviting people over for lunch’ in late 2018 they had initially chatted over the phone before she met him face-to-face in early 2019.

The pair were chatting on the phone around Christmas 2018 when she realised how lonely he was and decided to meet up with him, the court heard.

‘I promised that I would go to visit him because I felt that he was feeling very low at that point.’

Mrs Langley’s barrister suggested that, between 2018 and 2020, over £350,000 was transferred from Mr Harrington’s account to Mrs Qin’s, which she flatly denied.

She told the judge: ‘At the start, he didn’t pay me and I didn’t ask him for money. After a few months, he just gave me money because he didn’t allow me to work.’

She was referred to one £5,000 payment in March 2019, which she explained went towards her wedding ring.

‘He proposed to me two or three times,’ she told the court.

Mrs Qin denies all the allegations regarding the will and told the court, ‘his mind was all clear’, and that four solicitors were involved in the process of making the will in May 2020.

The judge has now reserved his decision in the case, to be given at a later date.

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