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Hotel owner who said his wife was his 'second best receptionist' loses bid to cut 2.7m divorce settlement
Andrew Davies described his 39-year-old wife as merely a paid employeeBut she claimed to work up to 17 hours a
day transforming their hotelLast
year, Judge Martin O'Dwyer gave her 2.2m cash and their homeLord Justice Thorpe said there was no reason to reverse that decision
17:54 GMT, 11 December 2012
Millionaire hotel owner Andrew Davies
who claimed his wife Debra was 'no more than a receptionist' today lost
his Appeal Court bid to cut her 2.7million divorce settlement.
The 49-year-old owner of the 6million
Cardiff Hotel, which overlooks exclusive Norfolk Square, in Bayswater, west London, claimed he was the driving force behind the business.
After love turned to hate in their
relationship he described his 39-year-old wife as merely a paid employee
and only 'the second best receptionist he had had.'
Debra Ann Davies (left) leaving the Appeal Court. She was involved in a bitter divorce battle with her multi-millionaire hotelier ex-husband Andrew Davies (right)
Lord Justice Thorpe sitting with Lord
Justices Elias and Rimer, said the hotel, described as the 'third party'
in the marriage, had been started by the husband's grandfather back
in 1958 and passed into his sole control in 1997.
Australian-born Mrs Davies claimed:
'The status of the hotel had risen almost dramatically as a result of
her energy, enterprise and marketing skills.'
She claimed she worked up to 17 hours a
day transforming the 60 bed hotel and was entitled to a 'fair share' of
the family assets.
In the High Court in September last
year, Judge Martin O'Dwyer agreed and gave her a 2.2million lump sum and the
keys to the the 550,000 former matrimonial home in Acton, west London.
Lord Justice Thorpe said payouts in 'big money' divorces should be consigned to history
Mr Davies, said to be 'in love' with
the hotel claimed it should have been taken out of the family assets,
which also included gold bullion worth almost 1.8million, because she was in
effect a member of staff who 'simply did her duties'.
But Judge O'Dwyer ruled that the two
of them had worked 'ceaselessly' together to transform a 'dowdy and
unwelcoming' hotel for working men into the tourist trade magnet it was
He said Mr Davies was 'overcome with
bitterness' and 'much of his evidence was designed to belittle his ex
wife and their relationship'.
He added : 'There is a third party in
the relationship – the Cardiff Hotel. Mr Davies was burning to make the
hotel work. He was in love with the hotel.
'His characterisation of his wife was as a good employee. He said she had been the second best receptionist he had had.'
The couple married in 2005 and had two children before finally splitting in 2009.
Judge O'Dwyer said the businessman had
been 'head over heels' in love with his wife. But no longer had any
real acknowledgment of her commitment to him.
Lord Justice Thorpe said there were no
grounds for interfering with the judge's reasoning and anything less to
the wife would be 'plainly unfair.'