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Multimillionaire towel tycoon in bitter £2.5m row together with his son

  • Michael Parker, 60, said he signed the home over for inheritance tax purposes
  • Thomas Parker-Bowyer alleged the home was ‘gifted’ to him 

A multimillionaire towel tycoon has accused his son of dumping £300,000 of luxury furniture, including £12,000 piano, into a skip – as the pair’s £2.5million court war over the family mansion rages on.

Businessman Michael Parker is suing Thomas Parker-Bowyer, 30, in a bitter row over who owns the family’s sprawling seven-bed mansion in Buckinghamshire.

Mr Parker, 60, owned the £2.2million bolthole before claiming to sign it over to his youngest child in 2019 to avoid inheritance tax. 

But the pair have since fallen out and are now locked in a bitter tug of war over who owns the ranch-style mansion, with Mr Parker-Bowyer insisting the luxury villa is rightly his, something his father refutes. 

And in the latest development of the long-running feud, Mr Parker – who used to provide services for the likes of the Dorchester hotel – has accused his son of ‘flogging off’ £300,000 of furniture in the home which he says are his.  

This includes a £12,000 mini grand piano, £40,000 worth of gym equipment and a Union Jack armchair.

Multimillionaire towel tycoon - Michael Parker  (pictured) - is currently feuding with his son over a £2.2 million mansion

Multimillionaire towel tycoon – Michael Parker  (pictured) – is currently feuding with his son over a £2.2 million mansion 

His son - Thomas Parker-Bower (pictured) maintains his father 'gifted' him the home in exchange for paying off the mortgage in 2019

His son – Thomas Parker-Bower (pictured) maintains his father ‘gifted’ him the home in exchange for paying off the mortgage in 2019

Mr Parker alleges he only signed the property over to his son on the basis that he has a right to still control it himself during his lifetime.

He wants a declaration that there was a ‘constructive trust’ agreement between the pair that the home was his for life even if not owned in his name.

The businessman also wants damages for its contents as well as items from another property on the family’s land.

However his son Thomas Parker-Bowyer maintains his father ‘gifted’ him the home in exchange for paying off the mortgage in 2019.

He also says the items within the home came as a package costing him an additional £10,000.

Mr Parker-Bowyer is currently counter-suing his father for a £24,000 energy bill – which he claims his father is responsible for.

He also wants to put an injunction in place  banning his father from ‘trespassing’ by entering Tor its surrounding grounds.

The judge, Deputy Master John Linwood, heard at London’s High Court that Mr Parker was a successful property developer, who also ran a surgical supply business, before joining forces with his then wife Barbara Cooke in a thriving luxury towel business.

Through BC Softwear, the company jointly owned with his ex, Mr Parker supplied luxury towels sourced from Turkey to exclusive hotels.

Nestled on a secluded estate and surrounded by two acres of grounds, the seven-bed house at the centre of the row with his son has eight bathrooms, an enormous bespoke kitchen in American black walnut and Orissa Blue granite, a home cinema, aqua-lift swimming pool with adjustable floor height, gym and bar, as well as separate staff quarters.

The dispute between father and son turns around a deal made between them in 2019, shortly after Mr Parker moved to his other house.

Mr Parker admits he transferred the property and its surrounding land and buildings to his son, but says that was strictly on condition that he retain a lifetime interest in the property.

The businessman also claims his son 'flogged' or 'dumped' £300,000 worth of luxury furnishings from the home (pictured)

The businessman also claims his son ‘flogged’ or ‘dumped’ £300,000 worth of luxury furnishings from the home (pictured)

Mr Parker claims he signed the property over to his son (pictured) for inheritance tax purposes on condition that he retain a lifetime interest in the property

Mr Parker claims he signed the property over to his son (pictured) for inheritance tax purposes on condition that he retain a lifetime interest in the property

Mr Parker’s barrister Gavin McLeod told the judge that the transfer had been made in a bid to minimise inheritance tax and that he planned to leave another property to his older son Eddie, thus treating both sons equally.

‘The idea was that legal title would go to his son, but that Mr Parker would have continuing use and occupation of the property,’ said his barrister.

He added that the father and son have since ‘fallen out in serious measure’ over who is the true owner.

Mr Parker-Bowyer, who once worked alongside his dad before running his own floatation therapy business, insists that the arrangement was different.

He claims to have agreed to purchase the property from his father as it was so heavily mortgaged and at risk of foreclosure.

His barrister, Piers Digby, said Mr Parker-Bowyer used £200,000 savings as well as a £1.2m mortgage to pay off his dad’s mortgage.

In return he alleges that his father gifted him the remaining equity in the property.

Mr Parker told the judge: ‘In 2019, Tom had no assets apart from money I gave him. Where did he get his money from? 

‘From his dad. That’s where he got everything from.’

Mr Parker-Bowyer claims to have agreed to purchase the property from his father as it was so heavily mortgaged and at risk of foreclosure

Mr Parker-Bowyer claims to have agreed to purchase the property from his father as it was so heavily mortgaged and at risk of foreclosure

Towel tycoon Michael Parker, 62, (pictured) is battling his son Thomas Parker-Bowyer, 30, in the High Court over a seven-bedroom mansion

Towel tycoon Michael Parker, 62, (pictured) is battling his son Thomas Parker-Bowyer, 30, in the High Court over a seven-bedroom mansion 

He added: ‘Tom only has money because he got it from his father. The only money Tom ever had was from his father.’

‘Tom didn’t have any money. Where did he get it from?’

Mr Digby put to him that he had sold £560,000 worth of shares and split the proceeds between his two sons.

‘There was a sale of shares from which he got substantial monies,’ said the barrister.

‘My shares,’ replied Mr Parker.

The barrister told him: ‘This is the problem. You say you gave them stuff, but then that you never really gave them stuff. You want to have your cake and eat it.

‘You gifted those monies. You had no further claim on it.’

The barrister accused him of ‘trying to take control of a house Tom bought with his own monies.’

Mr Parker replied: ‘That depends on your definition of a family. Without me, he would have nothing, but legally the shares were his by 2018.

‘That’s your spin. Tom knows where his money came from.

‘I wasn’t the legal owner but I had the right to look after and manage that property as I saw fit and Tom knew that.

‘I have gifted my sons everything. If I could have cut off my right arm and given it to him, I would have done. I’ve spent my life providing for my sons.

‘Since my sons were born, I have provided for them. I bought them houses in their own names to be held in trust when they were children.

‘It was my desire to help my sons long term. In the event that they had children I would expect them to do the same.’

Mr Digby pointed to £8,500 monthly payments of alleged rent for an outbuilding one of Mr Parker’s companies had been making to his son.

‘That is a dream, a wheeze that Tom had come up with,’ responded Mr Parker.

‘Why would anybody pay £8,500 a month for basically a shed?’

‘Tom is lying to the court,’ he said, claiming the payments were towards the mortgage on the home as part of their agreement.

Mr Parker’s barrister – Mr McLeod – said ‘numerous and expensive furnishings and chattels sited in [the property]’ – worth around £300,000 – had been put ‘into skips’ or ‘flogged off’ by the son following the dispute.

‘Upon transfer of [the property] to Thomas, it was still filled with a great array of Michael’s goods,’ said the barrister.

‘Thomas has since taken it upon himself to sell (or try to) various of [the property] goods on Facebook Marketplace.

‘[The property] was full of pleasant, even luxury, furnishings in various rooms. Now, they are not there.

‘It is quite obvious that substantial and expensive furnishings have disappeared from many rooms of [the property]. It is clear also that various things have been offered for sale.

‘The evidence amply supports that Thomas was party to an express agreement – judged objectively and having regard to the overall factual context and circumstances – to the effect that Michael would continue to have rights in [the property].

The £2.2 million pound home the pair are currently feuding over in Buckinghamshire

The £2.2 million pound home the pair are currently feuding over in Buckinghamshire 

Mr Digby - Mr Parker Bowyer's barrister -  pointed to £8,500 monthly payments of alleged rent for an outbuilding one of Mr Parker's companies had been making to his son

Mr Digby – Mr Parker Bowyer’s barrister –  pointed to £8,500 monthly payments of alleged rent for an outbuilding one of Mr Parker’s companies had been making to his son 

The dispute has caused Michael Parker (centre) with his sons Eddie (left) and Thomas (right) to fallout

The dispute has caused Michael Parker (centre) with his sons Eddie (left) and Thomas (right) to fallout

‘If and insofar as the claim requires the remedy of damages instead, then damages are claimable for the lost value of assets, particularly those sold, or otherwise put into skips.’

Mr Digby said: ‘As of 4 November 2019, [the property] was subject to substantial mortgages….The claimant was at real risk of [it] being foreclosed upon.

‘The contemporary documents are clear that the claimant intended to sell…to Thomas for moneys needed to clear the claimant’s mortgages, with the remaining equity to be gifted and therefore that there was no common intention or agreement as to the claimant’s beneficial interest.

‘Under the agreement between the claimant and Thomas, title to [the property] contents passed to Thomas. 

‘As such, the claimant has no right to immediate possession and cannot found a claim in conversion of [the property] contents.’

Mr Parker’s older son Eddie Parker, 33, is not involved in the row and is not a party to the case.

The trial continues.