Dumped Kiwi partner of super-rich divorcee wants what's 'fair'

STUFF
New Zealander Hamish Hurley and his wealthy divorcee ex Mandy Gray are fighting over $40m in assets.

Their intense, loving relationship was so good he would have given his life for her.

Physical therapist Hamish Hurley, 46, is hunkered down with his parents in Geraldine, as the story of a toxic property wrangle between him and his former wealthy divorcee partner Mandy Gray emerges.

Hurley wants a share of about $40 million of assets, including an Italian villa, a $12m South Island station and a collection of supercars, acquired during their six-year relationship. 

Gray had a famous previous campaign through the courts when she sued her ex-husband, United States investment banker Randy Work over a fortune Work claimed his talent earned over the course of their marriage. After an appeal in 2017 she won a $140m divorce settlement.

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Hurley and Gray got together in 2013 when they met at an exclusive London gym where Hurley, a science and physical education graduate of Otago University, was a sought-after physical consultant. Gray ended the relationship in January when they were on holiday at their luxury home in Malta.

His lawyer describes the relationship before the break-up, as "intense, intimate, loving, consensual and collaborative".

From reports this week of the London High Court proceedings, in which Gray is defending Hurley's claims, Hurley is hearing he was the "archetypal gold digger" and "sexually pressured" his former partner. He is called abusive and domineering.

New Zealander Hamish Hurley is embroiled in a bitter court battle with his wealthy former partner Mandy Gray.
NICHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IMAGES
New Zealander Hamish Hurley is embroiled in a bitter court battle with his wealthy former partner Mandy Gray.

report in the Mirror said that in court papers, Jonathan Cohen, Miss Gray's QC, said Gray was "Hurley's vehicle for his enrichment".

"By his design, a number of very valuable assets, all bought with Gray's money - for he had none - are presently registered in whole or part in Hurley's name or held by companies which he controls," the Mirror quoted Cohen saying.

But Hurley told Stuff he disputed much of what was being said about him in court and looked back on happier times.

"Up until the day we broke up I would've given up my life for her. I would've taken a bullet for her."

He could see why media were interested in the story because "here you have this person who went after her ex-husband for everything he was worth and then battled in the courts and between the two of them spent about five million pounds ($10m) and now the shoe is on the other foot".

Hamish Hurley wants his share of what he claims was a joint fortune.
supplied
Hamish Hurley wants his share of what he claims was a joint fortune.

His friends in London were supportive and said he was winning in the public stakes.

"Most people are saying what's good for the goose is good for the gander... she fought tooth and nail for 50 per cent of everything her husband had and now she thinks I shouldn't get a penny. Most people would say that's a bit unfair."

He had about 40,000 text messages which "detailed" the real relationship and countered the "pretty horrible stuff" he was hearing, he said.

"I need to understand when and where we can release those to show what she is saying is not true."

He hoped they could reach a "sensible, amicable agreement" and move on with their lives.

A public relations company was helping Gray get her message across, he said. 

Part of the legal argument in London this week was about where the case should be heard.

Hurley is arguing the case should be heard in New Zealand where people in de facto relationships can be treated the same as married couples. Gray wants it heard in London. 

A spokesman for Gray said the former couple lived in London and went to New Zealand only to visit Hurley's parents. When put to Hurley, he said he could not comment. 

Mandy Gray arriving at Royal Courts of Justice, in London.
SAM PEARCE/SUPPLIED
Mandy Gray arriving at Royal Courts of Justice, in London.

Gray's and Hurley's most valuable joint asset in New Zealand is Mt Albert station, which looks out to Lake Wanaka.  The station, about 12,000ha in leasehold land and 800ha freehold, is owned by NZ registered company 4Hector. Of the 1200 shares, Hurley owns 912 and Gray 288.

The shareholding is thought to have been structured to get around the Overseas Investment Act rules.

Hurley's father, Roydon Hurley, said he thought the truth was being stretched.

"I can't believe it... I've known the woman for a long time and we thought she was akin to a daughter, but something's gone wrong."

 

The estranged couple's most valuable joint asset in New Zealand is Mt Albert station, which looks out to Lake Wanaka near Makarora.
SUPPLIED
The estranged couple's most valuable joint asset in New Zealand is Mt Albert station, which looks out to Lake Wanaka near Makarora.

Stuff