Isle of Man beneficiaries in paedophile’s will

Chris Dobson

Chris Dobson

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The Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association has declined a legacy of £1,000 because it comes from the estate of a dead paedophile.

The association wants the money to go instead to help any victims of the abuse.

Last week it was revealed that the association was one of several, including the RNLI and Erin Arts Centre, who had been left various sums of money by Chris Dobson, who lived in Essex.

Dobson died in December 2012 at the age of 70.

When prospective buyers of his Victorian house in Burnham moved in to clean it, they discovered a stash of illicit material including photographs and videos involving children, revealing Dobson, formerly a primary school teacher and scout leader, had been a sex offender. The buyers later pulled out of the purchase.

The main beneficiary of his estate is the RNLI, which could gain more than £200,000, but there are several organisations and individuals – some in the island such as the EAC, which could get £100,000 – which are also named.

EAC director John Bethell was upset that the centre has been selected by island media as being the beneficiary.

‘Last September we got a call saying that this gentleman [Dobson] had visited the Isle of Man many years ago and had left us a legacy,’ said Mr Bethell.

‘Then a journalist rang me yesterday [Thursday] and asked if there was any comment. I did not know what they were talking about. There was never a mention of such an amount of money – Isle of Man Railways [Supporters], various individuals and some other charities have also been left money.’

Mr Bethell added: ‘He is an individual who, after his death, illicit material was found. It’s come to me as quite a shock. That has come as a terrible revelation to us.

‘We cannot speak for the individual if after their death you find yourself in this sort of situation.

‘We were aware of this last year, it took some time before they sold the property.

‘If £100,000 is left that would be wonderful, but I doubt we will get anything. We are just the end of the line. All we knew is we were going to get a legacy with others in the Isle of Man.’

A solicitor based in Essex said victims of Mr Dobson’s crimes could have a claim for reparation, but urged them to step forward quickly.

Police in Essex are working on finding Mr Dobson’s victims.

In a statement, the EAC said: ‘This news is obviously deeply disturbing and, conscious of the sensitivities associated with this legacy, the directors of the Erin Arts Centre will be seeking legal advice as to what options might be available ... there has been no official confirmation of any amounts involved.’

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