Beatrice Gray's windfall $13 million with Point Piper time warp sale

Beatrice Gray's windfall $13 million with Point Piper time warp sale
Beatrice Gray's windfall $13 million with Point Piper time warp sale

An original 1960s time capsule in Point Piper that was at the centre of a 2012 will dispute has fetched more than $13 million selling at the weekend pre-auction.

The John Suttor-designed Wyuna Road residence was the former home of Betty Harris and her late racing identity husband Keith Harris.

They bought the land for £15,000 in 1962. 

She had no children. She had had three sisters and a brother: Lorna, Melva, Florence (Flo) and Fletcher. She survived them all. Her closest relatives were two nieces and two nephews. Mrs Harris' niece, Coralie Anne Hart, is the daughter of her sister, Lorna. Her nephews, Warwick and Philip Mertell, are the sons of her sister, Melva. Her niece, Anne Elizabeth Nickolls, is the daughter of her sister, Flo. Her brother, Fletcher, was killed in the Second World War.

Mrs Harris was not close to any of her nieces or nephews.

Followed Betty Harris’ death in 2009 members of the family contested her will, claiming she lacked the mental capacity to leave her estate to her neighbour and friend, Beatrice Gray. Gray's late husband, Robert had assisted Mrs Harris with the garbage tin duties for years. 

The distant relatives of wealthy Point Piper women Betty Harris were chopped from her will.

Her $10 million estate went to Beatrice Gray after Betty Harris died childless aged 95 in September 2009. 

Judge Richard White rejected evidence that Betty had dementia and wasn't up to making a revised will in 2005. 

Her closest living relative was her niece, Coralie Hart of Coffs Harbour, who was a beneficiary of an earlier will.

In February 2005 the Guardianship Tribunal appointed Mrs Hart and other relatives as Betty's guardians. 

Swindells was then appointed as the financial manager of her affairs. 

In the 2012 judgement Gray v Hart & Ors, it was alleged that Swindells had not properly performed his duties as financial manager: 

"For some months he left Mrs Harris without adequate funds. He prevented her from being able to write cheques as she was accustomed to do. Further, it was submitted that Mrs Harris' suspicion that Mrs Hart and her son-in-law were after her money was well-founded." 

Betty Harris' late husband was the colourful Sydney racing identity Keith Harris, vice-chairman of the Sydney Turf Club. 

He served prison time after delivering a bribe to prisons' minister Rex (Buckets) Jackson as part of the "early release scheme" for various criminals, including clients of the former Sydney solicitor Howard Hilton.

After the court case Mrs Gray told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that she was ‘extremely grateful to Betty Harris,’ but declined to comment further.

Point Piper

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