Court battle of wife and mistress settled

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The court battle between the wife and former mistress of an accountant over the £3.2 million property portfolio he built up came to an abrupt halt today.

Patricia Rust and her stable girl, Virginia Madden, were seeking shares of the properties after a former client of the husband sought settlement of a £950,000 judgment against him.



But after a week at the High Court, lawyers for Mrs Rust and Miss Madden settled the case on confidential terms.



David Bampton, the former client of Mr Rust, had successfully sued the accountant in 2008 over "negligent" and "deceitful" advice he was given and was awarded the compensation.



When Mr Rust, 61, did not pay, a judge ordered the sale of the properties.



Mrs Rust and Ms Madden both claimed they had a "beneficial interest" in some or all of the homes and were entitled to some of the sale proceeds.



During the hearing, Mrs Rust, 58, said she did not realise her husband had bought many of the properties using money from their joint accounts in his and his mistress's name.



Miss Madden was originally employed by Mrs Rust as a stable girl in 1991 and began a relationship with her husband two years later.



The wife did not find out about the affair until five years later and ordered Mr Rust, 61, out of the matrimonial home, Barnfield House in Bishops Stortford, Herts.



But Miss Madden, 39, continued to work as the groom, tending the two daughters' horses, and lived across the road with Mr Rust in Broomshawbury Cottage.



She left Mr Rust while he was in jail on money laundering charges and went to live in another of the properties, nearby Buttercup Cottage, he bought in their joint names and where she still lives.



Mrs Rust continued to work with her husband in his accountancy firm and never finalised their divorce.



She still lives in the matrimonial home with his parents who claimed they had a lifelong right to remain there.



Mrs Rust only found out about the mistress's share when she saw documents in confiscation proceedings brought against her husband by the Crown Prosecution Service.



Mr Rust was found guilty of money-laundering and imprisoned. His conviction was later quashed on appeal and he was acquitted at a retrial in October 2007.



Mr Bampton, a 44-year-old computer programmer, who was charged with Mr Rust, successfully sued the accountant in the High Court.

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