by Keith Hunt
Six people have been cleared of forging a family will after the case against them collapsed.
The family was torn apart after Karen Griffin, from Rochester, drowned in the River Medway in 2009, a court heard.
Her partner Raymond Avery, children Daniel, Simon and Emma Griffin, ex-husband Bernard Griffin and neighbour Alan McNicol had been accused of plotting together to forge the will.
Maidstone Crown Court heard Mrs Griffin, 56, made a will leaving the whole of her estate to her brother David Banks.
The six were alleged to have changed the will so Simon was the only beneficiary but the prosecution dropped the case after it was revealed the main prosecution witness, Mr Banks, had admitted forging his father's will.
Mr Avery, 61, of Westfield Lane, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, Daniel Griffin, 26, Simon Griffin, 30, and Mr McNicol, 69, all of Sidney Road, Rochester; Emma Griffin, 28, and Bernard Griffin, 59, both of Walderslade Road, Chatham, all denied conspiracy to commit fraud.
After the revelation about Mr Banks forging his father's will, the prosecution offered no further evidence and Judge Jeremy Carey directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts.