A SOLICITORS' secretary is facing jail for faking her new husband's will to pocket his £1m fortune - by cutting out his daughters.

His devious wife drew up the bogus document in her office before the death of wealthy 61-year-old Darlington businessman, Harvey Smith.

Dawn Smith, then 45, wanted to ensure she and her son from an earlier relationship got their hands on his estate.

She has since married again - to a waiter in the Turkish resort of Marmaris - and is working as a bailiff for a debt company.

Ironically, she has left debts against her late husband's name by not settling the £3,600 bill for his funeral, police revealed - as well as selling family heirlooms destined for Mr Smith's daughters to fund her trips to Turkey.

Smith has been ordered to hand in her passport by a judge after admitting charges of forgery and making a false statement on oath.

It emerged she has visited Turkey almost once a month between the death of Mr Smith - awarded an MBE in 1986 for services to industry - and her first court appearance in February.

The businessman's daughter Karen, 43, told The Northern Echo: "I've not even grieved for his death yet as this has been so upsetting."

The mother-of-three added: "It has been 18 months of hell for my family. It has caused so much upset and distress in the family. It is hard not knowing what my dad's final wishes were. She took that away."

Smith faked the signatures of her husband, another legal secretary and a solicitor on the bogus document she drew up in 2010.

After his death in November 2012, she told his family she didn't believe he had a last will and testament.

However, she later produced the paperwork - back-dated to February 2011 - which left their £500,000 house and £420,000 pension to her.

It excluded Karen and included explicit instructions that her sister Zoe, 25, should not receive anything at all.

A partner at the Darlington law firm of Hewitts, where Smith had worked, thought it suspicious the women were overlooked while Dawn Smith's son was included.

The lawyer - a personal friend of Mr Smith - raised concerns and staff spotted basic errors.

One of the supposed witnesses had left the firm at the time they were said to have signed it, and the other had changed offices.

Police were alerted and a handwriting expert concluded that Mr Smith's signature was not the same as legitimate ones provided by detectives.

Karen added: "I just find the whole thing terribly, terribly sad, and my dad would have just been mortified. He was a man of principles."

At Teesside Crown Court, Smith, 47, was also ordered to report to police twice a week until she is sentenced early next month. The case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports.

Her barrister, Caroline Goodwin, said Smith wanted to travel to Turkey to "settle her affairs" before the likely prison term.

But Judge John Walford said: "My immediate reaction to that proposal would be unfavourable. Restrictions should be placed on her movements."

And he warned Smith: "You should not be misled into thinking my adjourning for a report and granting you bail doesn't mean that prison is likely."

Smith wed her wealthy husband three years before his death, meeting him when the former Stockton school pupil was on a night out in her home town.

They began dating and she moved into his detached three-storey home in Carmel Road North, Darlington, in 2006.

She was friends on Facebook with her new Turkish husband before Mr Smith's death, which she publicly announced online.

On a forum for Subaru car owners - where the businessman was hailed a genius - she said she had lost her husband and best friend.

Detective Constable Mick Trodden, who investigated the case, described Smith's crimes as "cynical and calculating".

He said: "Smith left debts against her husband's name, including a bill for Mr Smith's funeral.

"The family have gone through extreme anxiety for two years since his death, contributed to by this cynical and calculated crime.

"They now question what Dawn Rutland [her maiden name] saw in the millionaire Ronald Harvey Smith MBE."

Brenda Davidson, managing partner of Hewitts Solicitors, said: “The actions of Dawn Smith were outside the course of her employment and came to light many months after she had left the firm. As soon as we became aware of the situation we notified the police and co-operated fully in the investigation.”