Ian Workman killed his wife, Susan, mother of Ben and Nicholas, in April 2011, stabbing her in the heart with a large kitchen knife. The reason, it is claimed, was that she was in the process of divorcing the multi-millionaire car dealer, and the murder was committed in order to prevent Ian Workman from having to pay out in a large settlement. Susan would have been entitled to an equal share of everything.
For six years, Workman’s sons, and his sister-in-law, Carol Forrester, have battled the courts in order to obtain their share of the inheritance. Recently, three senior judges at the Court of Appeal agreed that the killer, who is currently serving life, would have to pay out just over £1.5 million, plus £500,000 costs.
Workman had originally refused to cooperate with the legal process. He had even forfeited the right to defend himself in court. On further investigation, it turned out that Workman had actually ‘voluntarily dissipated’ almost everything he owned to his eldest son, Grant.
This was seen to be an obstruction of justice, and did not do him any favours when it came to court. Ian Workman always claimed that he did not kill Susan for the money, but that instead it was done in self defence after she came at him during an argument. His sons, however, insist that their father should not profit from his crime – and the judges agreed.
The story is like something out of a soap opera melodrama, but in this case it’s all true. Dennis Oland, 47, was recently found guilty of murdering his father, Richard. Nothing too sensational in all that, you might think – sons murder their fathers on a fairly regular albeit gruesome and upsetting basis – but in this case there was a long backstory of greed and money behind it.
Moosehead Brewery is a famous Canadian beer maker, and it is into this world that the story of the Olands is thrown. Richard was the director of Moosehead Breweries, and Dennis was the heir to the company, and the fortune that went with it.
But in July 2011, Richard’s body was discovered in a pool of blood in his office at the Moosehead Brewery headquarters. He was 69. His body was covered in multiple stab wounds, including his hands which showed that he had attempted to defend himself. It was no use, however. Along with the stab wounds, Richard’s body was also found to have suffered blunt force trauma to the head, neck and hands. It was unclear exactly which wound killed him.
Although Dennis Oland pleaded not guilty, and maintains that he was nowhere near the brewery on 7th July 2011 when his father was brutally murdered, he was convicted of second degree murder (similar to manslaughter in the UK) in a trial that gripped the town of New Brunswick in Canada. Dennis was sentenced to life in prison, although he may be able to seek parole after 10 years.
The reason behind the killing, the prosecution asserted, was that Dennis Oland was having major financial problems, and it is suggested that he went to visit his father, asked him for a bailout (not for the first time, it would seem), and when the elder Oland refused, Dennis grew violent. It may well have occurred in the ‘heat of the moment’ (hence the second degree murder charge, not first degree), but it still happened.
And despite denials of guilt from Dennis Oland, prosecutors showed that a brown jacket Dennis owned had traces of blood on it, as well as his father’s DNA.
The Moosehead dynasty will continue, but it will now move in a different direction. Many wills and trust funds will need to be updated to keep up with the new situation.