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TALK OF THE TOWN: Has widow Lady Sally Aspinall, 77, lost millions to a fraudster?

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TALK OF THE TOWN: Has widow Lady Sally Aspinall, 77, lost millions to a fraudster?

Her life has truly been lived in the fast lane – initially as daughter of the Le Mans-winning 5th Earl Howe, then as wife of dashing but doomed Formula One driver Piers Courage, and ultimately as third and last bride of outlandish casino king and zoo owner John Aspinall.

Now, at the age of 77, Lady Sally Aspinall has, I’m told, suffered losses running into millions of pounds, after falling victim to an alleged fraud in what is described as a sickening breach of trust.

‘The person responsible has been systematically robbing her, forging her signature,’ my informant tells me.

Lady Sally Aspinall has, I'm told, suffered losses running into millions of pounds, after falling victim to an alleged fraud in what is described as a sickening breach of trust. Pictured: Lady Sally with late husband John Aspinall

Lady Sally Aspinall has, I'm told, suffered losses running into millions of pounds, after falling victim to an alleged fraud in what is described as a sickening breach of trust. Pictured: Lady Sally with late husband John Aspinall

Lady Sally Aspinall has, I’m told, suffered losses running into millions of pounds, after falling victim to an alleged fraud in what is described as a sickening breach of trust. Pictured: Lady Sally with late husband John Aspinall

The alleged fraud happened in London over a number of years, where the fraudster took advantage of the fact that Sally has not been in the best health.

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Sally now spends much of her time in South Africa where she is cared for by her son Bassa, 49 – her only child by Aspinall.

John Aspinall left more than £90 million when he died in 2000, aged 74.

He bequeathed most of his fortune to Sally and Bassa, and to Damian and Amanda, his children by first wife, Jane Gordon Hastings.

Sally now spends much of her time in South Africa where she is cared for by her son Bassa, 49 – her only child by Aspinall

Sally now spends much of her time in South Africa where she is cared for by her son Bassa, 49 – her only child by Aspinall

Sally now spends much of her time in South Africa where she is cared for by her son Bassa, 49 – her only child by Aspinall

Other beneficiaries were his stepsons Jason and Amos Courage – Sally’s sons by her first marriage to old Etonian brewing heir Piers, who died at 28 in an horrific accident in the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix.

Sally and her family decline to comment on the loss of the money.

But longstanding friends have always been in awe of her stoicism in the face of adversity: first, in the aftermath of Piers’ death and, later, in 1995, when her eldest son, Jason, was paralysed from the chest down when his motorbike was hit by a car making an illegal turn.

During her marriage to Aspinall, Sally became inured to reversals of financial fortune, on one occasion selling her jewellery to keep the family afloat.

‘John took the view that objects and pictures were for the good times,’ she reflected. ‘In the bad times, they went.’

But being the victim of a protracted alleged fraud may test even her fortitude – and that of her family – beyond breaking point.

The person accused of the fraud did not wish to comment to The Mail on Sunday. Police confirmed they were investigating but no arrests have been made. 

Jo Wood tells me that living in the countryside has relieved her of the pressure to have Botox, as she’s not getting out so much.

‘It doesn’t seem as important as when I was in London and going to events all the time,’ she says.

Maybe that’s just as well – as Jo, 66, ex-wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, has had some disasters over the years.

Once, after a night of dancing, the Botox she had around her eyes started to affect the rest of her face, leaving her with a crooked smile for six weeks.

However, I’m not convinced Jo has cracked the habit just yet, as she adds: ‘I need to go and have my little dark marks taken off my face.’

And why not…

TALK OF THE TOWN: Has widow Lady Sally Aspinall, 77, lost millions to a fraudster?Source

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