The estranged son of late hospitality tycoon John Hemmes has been awarded $1.75 million of his estate, despite the pair never meeting.
Graphic designer Edward Cameron, 27, was awarded the sum on Friday after a one-day hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court.
Mr Cameron sued for a $4.1million portion of Mr Hemmes’ estate, claiming he was born to the business identity and Fiona Cameron – a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair with between 1983 and 1989.
Justice Geoffrey Lindsay made his decision after court heard details of how Mr Cameron never met his father before he died from cancer in March 2015, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The estranged son of late hospitality tycoon John Hemmes, Edward Cameron (pictured), was awarded $1.75 million of his estate on Friday, despite the pair never meeting
Mr Cameron sued for a $4.1million portion of Mr Hemmes’ (right) estate, claiming he was born to the business identity and Fiona Cameron. Pictured: Bettina Hemmes, Justin Hemmes and John Hemmes
His mother’s relationship with Mr Hemmes ended once she became pregnant, and he only began paying child support to her in the mid 1990s after several court cases.
DNA tests at the time found that Mr Cameron was 99.6 per cent likely to be Mr Hemmes’ son.
But Mr Cameron said his father never acknowledged him or spoke to him and even took out an apprehended violence order when he tried to find him, NSW Supreme Court heard on Thursday.
‘John Hemmes had serious doubts as to the legitimacy of Edward Cameron being his biological son,’ a spokesperson from his family’s Merivale empire told the publication on Friday.
When Mr Hemmes – the owner of dozens of Sydney venues including Ivy and Coogee Pavilion – died of cancer aged 83, $5.7million was transferred from a Swiss bank account to his two legitimate children, Justin and Bettina, the court heard.
But Mr Hemmes also had a superannuation fund worth $4.1million, money from which he had used to pay child support to Ms Cameron.
In court on Thursday, Mr Cameron’s mother Fiona (pictured outside court) said she visited all of Mr Hemmes’ houses during their relationship and and even advised him on property deals. She took the magnate to court to win child support payments for her son
The tycoon (right) left his son and heir Justin (left) in charge of his empire named after his wife Merivale
Mr Cameron, who went to high school on the Gold Coast before moving to Germany for a while, demanded the $4.1million went to him instead of Mr Hemmes’ widow Merivale.
His lawyer, Lindsay Ellison SC, said in court on Thursday that it was a reasonable amount to ask to set him up in life, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The executor’s barrister Noel Hutley SC admitted that Mr Cameron was ‘irrefutably presumed to be the son of Mr Hemmes’ but said that any money awarded should be less than $1million.
He urged the judge to avoid granting what he called Mr Cameron’s ‘wish list’ of money to buy a car and home.
Mr Cameron said his father (right) never acknowledged him or spoke to him and even took out an apprehended violence order when he tried to find him. Pictured: Amber L’Estrange, Justin Hemmes, Merivale Hemmes and John Hemmes (left to right)
Ms Cameron said she visited all of Mr Hemmes’ houses including this home called The Hermitage
In court on Thursday, Ms Cameron said she visited all of Mr Hemmes’ houses during their relationship and even advised him on property deals.
She also claimed that even when she became pregnant, the magnate would still call her and ask her out.
The court also heard that Mr Cameron sent his father pictures of himself from Germany and tried to get in touch – but was told by his father’s manager Kerrie Boylett that he would have to undergo more DNA testing if he wanted to see him.
Mr Cameron allegedly decided not to go through with the tests but later tried to find his father’s home, only to turn up at the wrong address.
John Hemmes died in 2015 after a long battle with multiple myeloma, a rare cancer of the blood cells. Pictured: The Newport Arms, part of his empire
Originally a fashion house, Merivale has grown into a portfolio of more than 50 restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels in Sydney including the Coogee Pavilion (pictured)
Justin Hemmes is now CEO of his late father’s Merivale empire which consists of some of the most popular venues in Sydney. He is pictured with his model girlfriend Kate Fowler
This prompted Ms Boylett to threaten an apprehended violence order if he tried again, the court heard.
Justice Lindsay said the case was ‘tragic’ and had caused Mr Cameron much ‘anxiety.’
He declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia. Mr Hutley has not responded to a request for comment.
From dutch immigrant to hospitality tycoon: The life of John Hemmes
John Hemmes was born in the Dutch East Indies in 1931.
He left the Netherlands following World War II with $20 in his pocket and started a new life in New Zealand.
He then moved to Australia where he met his wife Merivale and built a fashion brand in her name.
The History Council of NSW said of his brand: ‘The House of Merivale was not just a shop; it was a phenomenon that significantly influenced a generation of young Australians’ attitude to shopping and the fashion experience.’
Hemmes then started buying up venues around Sydney and turning them into some of the most famous bars and clubs in the city today.
He died in 2015 aged 83 after a long battle with multiple myeloma, a rare cancer of the blood cells.
He left his son and heir Justin in charge of his empire named after his wife Merivale.
Merivale has grown into a portfolio of more than 50 restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels in Sydney.