A rock legend’s ex-wife is suing her ‘War of the Worlds’ songwriting brother in a £3 million court scrap over their dead mother’s former home.

Gary Osborne (72) has enjoyed a distinguished five-decades of music writing and performing.  

With his sister Jan Jones in 1966, Jan Jones was also a member of the sibling-pop duo Gary and Jan Lorraine.

But the siblings are now fighting in court, amid claims that Mr Osborne, 72, exercised ‘undue influence’ over their alternative therapist mother Joan Osborne to get her to give him her £3m west London home.

Ms Jones claimed that their mother had dementia, and was vulnerable to the pressure of her son when he “exploited” her and took her Little Venice apartment in 2002. 

But Mr Osborne vehemently denies the allegations, claiming that his mother – with whom he had a ‘very close and loving relationship’ – gave him the £3million property to avoid inheritance tax when she died.

Mr Osborne, a prodigy child, began his songwriting career when he was only 15, and reached his first US chart with The Seekers at just 17.  

Gary Osborne (right) and sister Jan Jones are locked in a bitter court spat over their mother's £3m home. They are pictured together in 1965, as the sibling pop duo Gary and Jan Lorraine

Gary Osborne (right) and sister Jan Jones are locked in a bitter court spat over their mother’s £3m home. The siblings were pictured as Jan Lorraine and Gary Osborne in 1965.

Mr Osborne (fourth from left) is accused of exercising 'undue influence' over his mother, Joan Osborne and 'exploiting' her into giving him her £3m flat in 2002. He denies the allegations

Mr Osborne (fourth from left) is accused of exercising ‘undue influence’ over his mother, Joan Osborne and ‘exploiting’ her into giving him her £3m flat in 2002. The allegations are denied by Osborne

Mr Osborne sold his mother's flat in Little Venice, West London (pictured) for £3m after she gifted it to him in 2002

Mr Osborne sold his mother’s flat in Little Venice, West London (pictured) for £3m after she gifted it to him in 2002

Elton John was Mr Osborne’s collaborator in 1970s. He took over the lyricist position from Bernie Taupin and later they recorded hits with “Little Jeannie”, and “Blue Eyes”.

However, his greatest achievement was writing the lyrics for Jeff Wayne’s musical retelling of HG. Wells’ War of the Worlds’. This earned him the Ivor Novello Award.

Janet, his sister, had released in 1965 a song titled “I’m Not to Blame” – however, the two are now pointing fingers at one another in bitter court battles following the death of their mother, who was 94 years old, in 2018.

Ms Jones was married to Kenney and had two children before she divorced. She claims that her brother used ‘undue pressure’ on her to convince his mother to rent the apartment to him at a time of declining dementia.

Constance McDonnell QC, Constance McDonnell’s lawyer, stated in court papers that her mother was committed to alternative therapies and had worked as a therapist until the end.

She had lived at a house in Warwick Avenue, Little Venice, west London, but in the late 1990s decided to downsize to a flat in the house next door, using the proceeds of sale of her old home to fund the £550,000 purchase.

Joan and Gary were briefly at odds when Gary threatened to stop the sale of her home if he didn’t receive a substantial portion of the proceeds. He had helped Joan buy the house with a mortgage.  

They reconciled, and when Mr Osborne received the flat, Mrs Osborne was “vulnerable” due to her declining mental health, and she spent more time with her husband and son, according to the barrister.

Joan, age 78, signed a deed for transfer to Mr Osborne in 2002. It was her best asset.

The lawyers for Mrs Jones claim that Joan was in a deteriorating state of mental health and she did not have the mental ability to transfer property.  

Jan Jones (left), ex-wife to Kenney Jones of The Who and Small Faces, claimed that their mother was in decline with dementia. He also made it clear that he was putting too much pressure on her. In 2002, he took her Little Venice apartment and ‘exploited her’.

Ms McDonnell QC stated that Mrs Jones in the premises claimed the deceased was unable to give the property to Mr Osborne 2002.

“The property’s value represented nearly all her capital assets. She had planned that the proceeds should be divided between her children and the other parties following her death.

“In particular, at the time of Mr Osborne’s transfer of property, the deceased was extremely vulnerable to undue influences by him.

“Mr Osborne was capable of exploiting, and did exploit the deceased’s vulnerability to his advantage in order to obtain the gift of property for himself.” 

According to Ms McDonnell, a letter from Mrs Osborne to begin the gifting process to the house was not written by her.

According to some, she wasn’t able to type that day, so her son must be responsible for the letter.

Mr Osborne, 72, (right) has enjoyed a glittering five-decade long career in the songwriting industry. He is pictured with Bill Martin in 2017

He is 72 years old and has enjoyed a successful five-decade-long career in the music industry. In 2017, he is seen with Bill Martin.

In her claim, Mrs Jones, of Newnham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, is asking for an order that her brother hand back to their mother’s estate the £3million which he received when he sold the Warwick Avenue apartment.

According to her will, it would be divided up with each sibling getting a quarter, and the rest being split among the grandchildren.

Hazel Hobbs, a barrister representing Mr Osborne claims that transfer of property to son was untainted. It was simply an attempt to avoid inheritance tax

Although the mother and her son were at odds around the purchase date, they quickly came to terms, she claims in defense of the action.

He was even given a room in her flat where he could rest during his frequent visits to London. He lives at the coast near Littlehampton in Hants.

She said, “It ought to be noted that Mrs Osborne was an intelligent and vivacious woman whom he had a close, loving relationship.”

“It is stated that the deceased took the decision to give up her assets in order to pay inheritance taxes. It was also claimed that she knew Mr Osborne would still support her.

The pensioner moved in with Mr Osborne (pictured) in 2003, staying for three years before she moved into a care home, where she remained until her death 12 years later

After moving in in 2003 with Mr Osborne, she lived there three more years. Then she transferred to a home for the elderly, which she continued in until her passing 12 years later.

In 2003, the pensioner moved in with her husband. She stayed for three years, before moving into a home.

Mr Osborne further denied that his mother was in serious decline, noting that she continued to drive and work.

According to his barrister, “At the time the transfer was made, the deceased was independent and not dependent upon Mr Osborne.”

“The decedent remained a charismatic, astute individual who continued to provide colonic irrigation treatments to her clients.

According to Mr Osborne, he already had a right to an apartment share because he contributed to her old home’s purchase price. This meant that he could also get a portion of the profits, most of which went to buying the flat.

He denied that she transferred the funds without any legal advice. However, she had asked local solicitors to assist her.

Also, Mr Osborne claims his mother gifted high-value items to their sister around the time of Osborne’s death, which included cash and property in Gloucestershire.

Also, she had purchased a colonicirrigation machine for her daughter and paid to train her in its use.

A pre-trial hearing was held in the case last week. The full trial is scheduled for 2022 or 2023.