A €280,000 sum given to a husband and wife by their “dear and naive” friend was a loan with no specified repayment date and not an unsolicited “gift”, a High Court judge has ruled. The “real tragedy” stems from the reaction of the defendants when the plaintiff sought repayment in 2014 of the loan made by her in August 2010, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said. The judge accepted evidence of the plaintiff and her sister that, in the months leading up to the payment, the defendant whose architect husband’s business was in serious difficulty – broached the possibility of the plaintiff helping her out and assured she would pay back “every penny”. The plaintiff agreed in principle to help out her “dear friend” and her sister supported the decision. Rather than acknowledge their debt, the defendants chose to deny it and, thereby, “at least by implication”, cast doubt on the honesty of the plaintiff and her sister, the judge said. There was no suggestion the plaintiff ever demanded immediate repayment of the full sum and the court was confident any reasonable proposal from the couple would have found favour with the plaintiff. Even if the judge had found the €280,000 was a gift, she would have set that aside as an “improvident transaction” which had “unjustly enriched” the defendants.