Therapist claimed partner of 28 years was a 'guest' in fight for £500,000 home

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A therapist who refused to allow his ex-partner of 28 years a share of their £500,000 home, claiming she had merely been a “guest”, must give her half of it, a judge has ruled.

Shane Turner told his fiancée Malika Bouchiba that he would not “screw” her when they agreed to put his name on the deed for the home in 2009. 

But when they separated five years later, he claimed she was “not entitled to any share” of the property. 

He claimed Ms Bouchiba, the mother of his son, was only a guest in the home in Twickenham. However, she had covered most of the mortgage payments and been the family’s main earner. 

Judge Owen Rhys, sitting in the First Tier Tribunal, said it would be “unconscionable” if she were left with nothing. He found she had made a “serious financial contribution to the purchase of the property and its upkeep” and ordered that it cannot be sold without her collecting half the sale price. Mr Turner must also pay her legal costs. 

The court heard the couple, in their fifties, had been together since 1986 and had lived as a family since 1995. 

The house in Twickenham, south-west London

Ms Bouchiba, a parenting coach, told the judge she was “always in paid employment” during the relationship and had “always taken on the burden of financial support of the family without help from Mr Turner other than in very limited ways”. 

Mr Turner had “only worked for short periods”, living off benefits and doing part-time jobs. When the couple bought the home Mr Turner had a steady job providing therapy services for local councils. Ms Bouchiba, worried about her poor credit history, agreed that only his name would go on the paperwork.

Judge Rhys said: “When Ms Bouchiba expressed concern about this, Mr Turner stated that she need not worry, that he would not ‘screw her’ and that she would be one of the legal owners of the property in due course.”

Mr Turner paid the £40,000 deposit and Ms Bouchiba agreed to pay the mortgage and bills. After they split in 2014 he denied the agreement existed. 

Judge Rhys said Mr Turner “denied the significance” of the relationship, said they were not living together and accused her of being “a bullying and domineering woman” and “a reckless spendaholic”. The judge described his claims as “simply incredible”.

Mr Turner had given Ms Bouchiba an engagement ring. Judge Rhys said: “Mr Turner’s denial of the significance of the relationship is unconvincing, contradicted by the objective facts and obviously self-serving.”

Mr Turner, 51, said he would appeal. He added: “I have lost my son, my grandkid over this. I’ve been through absolute hell.”

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