Ken Russell's ex-wife loses £2.3m claim

An actress at the centre of a High Court battle over the £2.3 million estate of a distinguished Dorset sculptress who had a lesbian relationship with her mother has lost her claim.

Hetty Baynes, 51, who was married to film director Ken Russell in the 1990s, was seeking financial provision as a "dependent" against the estate of the late Mary Spencer Watson.

She says Miss Spencer Watson treated her as her daughter throughout her life, and was supporting her financially at the time of her death in March 2006 aged 92.

But a judge in London dismissed her claim and also rejected a £1.6 million claim brought by Ms Baynes's mother, who is 90 and suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Mr Justice Lewison had heard that £2 million of the "substantial" estate was made up of Miss Spencer Watson's family home, Dunshay Manor in Purbeck, Dorset, with 15 acres of land and two cottages, which was left to the building preservation charity, the Landmark Trust.

The rest - just over £300,000 - was in investments, business assets and works of art.

After the hearing Ms Baynes said she was intending to appeal: "I don't agree it is settled yet."