Former Lyons teahouse cleaner who became millionaire wins divorce fight

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A West Indian who became a millionaire businessman after sailing from Barbados 60 years ago and getting a job sweeping up in a Lyons teahouse in London has won the latest round of a cash battle with his American ex-wife.

Margaret Joseph has failed to persuade a Court of Appeal judge that she should get a bigger share of a £10.4 million fortune after her 13-year marriage to 85-year-old Matthew Joseph broke down.

Two years ago a High Court judge concluded that Mrs Joseph, who is in her late 60s and comes from Mississippi, should walk away with £2.4 million.

Mrs Joseph began appeal proceedings and complained that Mrs Justice Roberts, who analysed the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court, had short-changed her.

She said the marital asset kitty should have been split in half.

But Lord Justice Moylan on Thursday dismissed her appeal.

He said Mrs Justice Roberts had made decisions she was entitled to make.

The judge explained in a ruling how Mr Joseph had built a property business and developed a care home business after travelling to London.

Mr Joseph told how he had been born in Grenada and moved to England 60 years ago to “make a life”.

“He had dreams of a better future in England and began to save for his passage to this country,” the judge said in a written ruling on the case.

“He flew to Barbados and travelled by boat to Italy.

“From there, he travelled overland by train to London.

“He found a bedsit in London and secured his first job here sweeping floors at a teahouse run by J Lyons & Co.”

Mrs Justice Roberts said Mr Joseph had run two care homes, one in Harwich, Essex, and one in Ringwood, Hampshire. She said neither care home was now operating.

The judge said the Hampshire home had been the subject of a a “critical report” by the Care and Quality Commission.

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