A WOMAN is fighting to retrieve thousands of pounds of inheritance money after the cash was incorrectly handed to a stranger.

Christine Burn (65), of Ponteland, has been battling for two years for more than £5,000 owed to her and her brother John Michael Laurie, now living in Australia, from her aunt’s estate.

After her aunt died in 2013 without leaving a will, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets handed information about the estate to a firm of heir hunters, who identified a cousin. As it transpired, the benefactor was not related at all.

Christine has been involved in a legal battle to retrieve their inheritance since 2017, even though she has evidence the inheritance belonged to her and her sibling.

She said: “I don’t understand why it’s taking so long for the heir hunters and their lawyers to sort it out.

“They’ve acknowledged their errors, but then dragged their heels over repayment. We just want this to be over.”

Christine is working with Anglia Research, experts in probate genealogy, to help recover the money owed to her.

Philip Turvey, the firm’s executive director, said: “In this case, we hope the local authority will now resolve the issue promptly.

“The heir hunter involved should certainly refund its commission to Christine Burn given the mistake made.”