AN 11-year-old girl left more than £250,000 in a pensioner's will is facing a High Court challenge to her inheritance after her parents were accused of "manipulating" the old man for her benefit.

When Wilfred Samuel Lamb died on January 11, 2000 he gave Katie Loveridge, of Worcester Road, Kidderminster, his whole estate, changing his will nine days earlier.

Josephine Shuck, of Worcester Road, Titton Road, Stourport, said the change of heart was suspicious given Mr Lamb's fragile mental and physical state and that Katie's parents helped him draft the new document.

Mrs Shuck, who helped look after Mr Lamb, was an executor of an earlier 1996 will she said should stand, under which she would get £10,000. Barrister Hedley Martin, for Mrs Shuck, claimed Jim Loveridge and wife Susan had "manipulated" the OAP - 72 when he died - and exploited their friendship with him.

He suffered mental health problems in the years before his death and signed the January 2, 2000 will when he was an in-patient at Kidderminster Hospital.

Mr Marten said Mr Lamb only made his gift after being promised he could see out his days at the Loveridges' home, adding the will was witnessed by two of their close friends.

Mr Marten argued Mr Lamb did not know what he was doing at the time.

Ruth Jordan, however, for Katie, argued Mr Lamb was able to make decisions and had been critical of the care he received from Mrs Shuck.

Edward Dzumaga, a witness to the disputed will, told the court he asked Mr Lamb if he knew what he was doing: "I said 'Are you doing the right thing? I don't want you to do anything you might regret.' His reply was 'No, strictly no'."

Mr Lamb was effectively a "prisoner of his situation" who had no choice but to accede to the Loveridges' demands they would look after him as long as their daughter got his estate, Mr Marten said.

"He had no option but to say yes to whatever the Loveridges were offering."

Judge John Jarvis QC, who reserved his decision in the case, suggested Mrs Loveridge had acted in a fair manner.

"The will was signed in a perfectly businesslike arrangement with two witnesses Mr Lamb knew," said the judge.

Judge Jarvis did not indicate when he would give his judgement in the case.