A man who claimed his white dad never accepted him as his son because he was ‘too dark-skinned’ has lost a court fight for a share of his £500,000 fortune.
Sunny Pyburn, 38, was subjected to ‘horrific’ physical and emotional abuse from his dad Bill Pyburn as a child, sparked by his belief that he was not his biological son.
Mr Pyburn had been born from an affair his dad had, but due to his ‘very dark skin’ as a child, Bill suspected he was not truly his, a court heard.
He told a judge he was repeatedly called ‘p**i’ by his dad, who wouldn’t let him wear a baseball cap backwards because it made him ‘look like a n****r.’
When he died in 2020, Bill cut Sunny out of his will completely, with his £500,000 Winchester home going to the wife he had cheated on and left, Jackie Pyburn, now 75.
Last week, Sunny launched a ‘moral claim’ against Jackie for a share of his dad’s estate, which he said he deserved due to the ‘cruel’ abuse he suffered and which he said has affected him to this day.
Sunny Pyburn, 38, who claimed his white dad never accepted him as his son because he was ‘too dark-skinned’ has lost a court fight for a share of his £500,000 fortune. Mr Pyburn (pictured outside Central London County COurt) was subjected to ‘horrific’ physical and emotional abuse from his dad Bill Pyburn as a child, sparked by his belief that he was not his biological son
But following a trial at Central London County Court, his claim was thrown out after Recorder Marie-Clare Bleasdale found that Jackie’s need was greater than Sunny’s.
She accepted Sunny had been subjected to serious abuse, but said Jackie was also a victim, due to her husband’s unfaithfulness, and that Sunny is old enough to stand on his own two feet.
The court heard Bill and Jackie had married in 1969 and on the same day moved into their home in Goring Fields, Winchester, where Jackie still lives now.
In the early 1980s, Bill began an affair with psychologist Dr Gita Deb and ultimately left his wife to live with his lover in Eastleigh.
They had Sunny, but TV repair man Bill continued to return to Goring Fields, where he had a workshop in the garage.
As Sunny grew up, Jackie often had to feed her husband’s lovechild Sunny, who his father brought to the former matrimonial home when his childminder was busy.
The father-son relationship ended in 2006 when Bill was accused and later convicted of sex offences against a woman, with Sunny refusing to stand by him.
His father almost immediately made a will, leaving his £500,000 house to Jackie and nothing at all for Sunny.
When he died in 2020, Bill cut Sunny out of his will completely, with his £500,000 Winchester home going to the wife he had cheated on and left, Jackie Pyburn, now 75 (pictured)
Last week, Sunny (left) launched a ‘moral claim’ against Jackie (right) for a share of his dad’s estate, which he said he deserved due to the ‘cruel’ abuse he suffered and which he said has affected him to this day
Claiming a payout from Jackie’s inheritance, Sunny told Recorder Bleasdale that he had a ‘moral claim’ to the money.
His childhood had been blighted by physical and emotional abuse by his dad, which he said was dressed up as ‘punishment or discipline’.
He said his dad would berate him with allegations that he couldn’t be his son because his skin was ‘too dark.’
Dr Deb, Sunny’s mum, had been Asian, but Bill suspected that his real biological dad must have been Asian too because of his skin tone.
Giving evidence, Sunny, who now lives in Barcelona where he teaches English, told the judge his dad had often referred to him as a ‘f***ing pa*i’ who couldn’t be his son.
The only time he called him his son was when he objected to Sunny wearing a baseball cap backwards, saying he didn’t want his ‘son to look like a n***er.’
He said he would be beaten or insulted if the extra schoolwork his dad set was wrong, including once having his head slammed against a wall for writing down random words on a test.
Describing the ‘horrific’ treatment at his dad’s hands, he added: ‘He always hated me. He was convinced I couldn’t be his son.’
Suing Jackie for a share of his dad’s estate, he claimed his education and earning potential had been adversely impacted and significantly curtailed by the impact of the abuse.
He claimed a payout to pay for better accommodation and to fund training so that he can forge a career in computer programming and earn a better wage.
The abuse he suffered had led to mental health problems and therapy, he said, and he had struggled in adulthood to form connections with other people.
Although he had worked as a wedding DJ in England, he had since moved to Spain, where he earns a very low wage and lives in shared accommodation in a rough area.
In her evidence, Jackie denied seeing any abuse, describing her husband as a ‘gentle man’ who only wanted his son to have a good education.
She insisted she would have intervened if Bill showed any sign of aggression and accused Sunny of making it up to boost his case.
But giving judgment, Recorder Bleasdale said: ‘I find I cannot reject Sunny’s account of these events.’
She pointed to a Facebook message from Sunny’s half brother Steven in which he detailed Jackie’s admission of having put doubts into Bill’s mind about his paternity.
In evidence, Jackie explained that she had received a call from the husband of Sunny’s mother, which had set off a genuine doubt that Sunny was Bill’s child.
But the judge said she was convinced that Jackie knew nothing about the abuse, because she was not always there when Sunny and his dad were together.
Bill had cheated on Jackie and left her for another woman, but continued coming to her house to work, and she had to feed his lovechild at times, she said.
‘I form the view that Jackie and Sunny were both victims of the deceased’s behaviour and both had to deal with the consequences of that behaviour,’ she added.
She accepted that Sunny’s current way of living was not sustainable, but Jackie herself also needed what she had been left by her estranged husband to look after herself in old age.
The judge said Sunny had a ‘sense of being wronged’ following the abuse, but was wrong in suggesting that Jackie had turned a blind eye to what happened.
She said Bill had excluded Sunny from his will because he refused to stand by his dad when he was arrested, charged and convicted for sex offences.
But although Bill’s disinheriting of his son was ‘morally reprehensible,’ she could not make an award from the estate as a ‘punishment’ for his bad behaviour, she said.
Bill’s ‘primary obligation’ at the time he died was to Jackie because they were still married and she was living in the home they moved into on their wedding day 54 years ago.
‘At the date of his death, he owed Sunny no continuing obligation,’ she continued.
‘He was an adult man and he was supporting himself. Sunny is a young man, well able to earn his own living.
‘I accept he will have to make lifestyle changes to do so, but that is his responsibility.’
His claim was refused.