Sir George Martins daughter claims fifth Beatle hid his fortune to favour

first_imgSir George Martin, the late music producer known as the “fifth Beatle”, has been accused by his eldest daughter of hiding his “vast wealth” in offshore accounts so he could secretly pass it on to his “favoured” children from his second marriage.Alexis Stratfold said the £1 million left in Sir George’s will when he died in March was “a joke” and a fraction of his true fortune, estimated at up to £400 million.She has been involved in a bitter dispute with her half-siblings after she was left just £68,000.Mrs Stratfold has also accused her late father of having had a decades-long affair with a Hollywood screenwriter which he hid from his widow, Judy, until his death. Alexis Stratford, at her home in Azille, France Alexis is the daughter of Beatles producer George Martin from his first marriage In her first major interview about the rift with Lady Martin and her children, Giles and Lucie, Mrs Stratfold, 61, said she had decided to speak out because: “I don’t think they should be able to get away without the truth coming out, Judy and the kids. Why should the public not know my story; how I have been treated?”Mrs Stratfold insisted the row is not about money, but about the way she has been “pushed out” and made to feel like a “second-class” member of the family almost from the moment her father married his second wife, Judy Lockhart, 50 years ago.Having “suppressed my feelings” for decades, she said the final straw came when her name was left off an invitation to her father’s memorial service in May, sent to guests from “Lady Judy, Lucie, Giles and the Martin family”. Her brother Greg, an actor, who fell out with his father after calling Lady Martin an “evil b—-” decades ago, was cut out of the will altogether.Like most Beatles fans, Mrs Stratfold was puzzled to find that her father, who received royalties from more than a billion record sales, including 30 hits with the Beatles, had left so little.During his life Sir George made a habit of telling people he was not wealthy, but few believed him, including his daughter.“Dad was an incredibly wealthy man, he earned vast amounts in royalties over his lifetime,” she said.  “I believe he was hiding his wealth abroad. It’s a real conundrum. I believe my father has deliberately put the house in Judy’s name and gifted the rest of his money to Lucie and Giles. I mean, £1 million, it’s a joke.” George Martin and Alexis Beatles producer George Martin (second from right) with (from left) Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon in 1963Credit:Chris Ware/Getty Instead, she found employment as a court stenographer. When she had her daughter, Natasha, with her first husband, Jonathan Goldberg QC, Sir George set up a covenant for her private education, but his tax-deductible gift turned out to be just £100 a year for seven years.And when all four children were invited to a gala performance of Sir George’s music, Mrs Stratfold and her brother Greg were made to sit in the stalls while Sir George sat in the royal box with Lucie and Giles, who followed his father into record production.Mr Goldberg said of his ex-wife: “It was almost as though she were the product of an illicit affair with a chambermaid. He erased Greg and Alexis from his life, they were always an afterthought.” George Martin with his daughter AlexisCredit:Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph Mrs Stratfold tried to sort out the row over the will with her half-sister Lucie during a meeting in a west London coffee shop, but they failed to agree and have had no contact since.Pointing out that her father had lived as a tax exile in California and the Channel Islands during some of his most profitable years, she said she would welcome an HMRC investigation into her father’s assets.Sir George had a reputation as one of the most charming men in music, but while his daughter was “proud” of his achievements, she said he had been a “cold and distant father”. Despite growing up during the height of Beatlemania, she never met any of the Beatles, and when her father died Sir Paul McCartney’s tribute to him made no mention of his eldest two children. George Martin with his wife JudyCredit:Geoff Wilkinson/Rex Shutterstock “The memorial service felt like the final insult, like another example of the way I have been pushed out by the other side of the family my entire life,” she told The Telegraph at her home near Narbonne in southern France, where she lives with her second husband, Rod.“Lucie kept telling me it was all about dad’s public life, that it would be taken care of. I made it clear that I wanted to be involved. They left my name off, and when I rang, they just kept offering excuses.”It was after the service that she received a copy of her father’s will, in which she had been left a small portion of her father’s estate in a bequest shared with Sir George’s chauffeur, a secretary and his three grandchildren.center_img Alexis Stratford, at her home in Azille, FranceCredit:Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph Despite his remoteness, or perhaps because of it, it was to his eldest daughter that Sir George confided a long-running affair in the late Seventies.During a rare lunch with her, Sir George admitted, on condition that his wife was never told about it, that he had met a glamorous Hollywood screenwriter named Barbara at the 1973 Grammy Awards.“It wasn’t a one-night stand,” said Mrs Stratfold. “It was a long-term thing. I think he probably had multiple affairs over the years, I just don’t know. He did have a ruthless side, dad, beneath the gentlemanly exterior.”The Martin family were unavailable to comment on Friday.However, Lucie Martin, Sir George’s youngest daughter, has previously stated that Mrs Stratfold’s claims were unfounded.Alexis Stratfold received no fee for this article but has asked that a donation be made to a music charity. She suspects he may not have known they existed, such was the extent to which her father had left his first wife and children behind.Her relationship with her father had been tense from the moment he walked out on her mother Jean “Sheena” Chisholm in 1962 – the same year Martin signed the Beatles to EMI. She believes her father was already having an affair with his future second wife, Judy Lockhart-Smith, a secretary at Abbey Road studios.Despite his cut-glass accent and debonair manner, Sir George had a working-class background in Holloway, north London, and liked to remind people that he was the son of a carpenter.“He was born to a very poor family, I think really he was very insecure about that,” Mrs Stratfold said. “When he met my mother he still had his Cockney accent, but that went gradually with all the [elocution] lessons he was taking. He was clearly conscious of it. “When I look back I think my mother was just an extension of his earlier life, she was one step on the ladder if you like. Judy was much more in line with where Dad was heading, she was upper class, she fitted the bill of what he wanted to be.”When Sir George married Judy in 1966, they moved into a town house near Hyde Park, with a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud parked in the drive. He would turn up in the Rolls to see his two children at his former wife’s modest home in Hatfield, Herts.When Lucie Martin was born in 1967, followed by Giles two years later, they were raised in a manner alien to their older half-siblings.Mrs Stratfold says that while Giles and Lucie were sent to Stowe and Marlborough College, two of the country’s most expensive public schools, she was unable to take up a place to study French at Exeter University because her father refused to pay for her tuition fees (she was not eligible for a full student grant because of his wealth). George Martin with his wife Judy George Martin with his daughter Alexis Beatles producer George Martin with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon in 1963 George Martin and AlexisCredit:Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more