Wife and mistress share swinger's fortune

By Kathy Marks

Herman Rockefeller shared a luxury home in Malvern  with wife Vicky but his remains were found in the backyard of a junk-strewn property in another area of Melbourne.  Photo / Supplied
Herman Rockefeller shared a luxury home in Malvern with wife Vicky but his remains were found in the backyard of a junk-strewn property in another area of Melbourne. Photo / Supplied

When Herman Rockefeller was killed in 2010, his parallel lives - as family man, lover and secret swinger - collided. Now a line has finally been drawn beneath his sad and dark story, with his New Zealand-born wife, Vicky, agreeing to share some of his A$14 million ($18.2 million) fortune with his long-time mistress, Liza Horsfall.

Horsfall had sued Rockefeller's widow for a chunk of his estate after a Melbourne couple were jailed last year for the manslaughter of the 52-year-old businessman, the former chief financial officer of Brierley Investments.

Mario Schembri and Bernadette Denny, who met him through a magazine advertisement, beat him to death during a swingers' tryst, then dismembered him and burned his remains.

Details of the out-of-court settlement are confidential, but local media said Horsfall - who, like Vicky, claimed to know nothing about Rockefeller's private life as a swinger - would receive a six-figure sum. She had been in a 27-year relationship with the US-born property developer, she had told the Victorian Supreme Court.

On the surface, Rockefeller - whose family moved from Ohio to Geelong, Victoria, when he was a teenager - was a model citizen, with a wife, two children and a successful business. But the keen churchgoer not only had a mistress, but a taste for sex with strangers - separate lives he juggled with the help of five mobile phones, police learned.

Harvard-educated Rockefeller met his wife while working in New Zealand, where he was a director of Carter Holt Harvey in the early 1990s. He later moved to Brierley, before returning to Melbourne with his family in 2000.

At the trial of Schembri and Denny, the jury heard Rockefeller placed 34 ads in swingers' magazines between 2000 and his fateful second meeting with Schembri, a scrap metal hauler, and Denny in January 2010.

The couple were infuriated when he turned up to see them without a female partner, and a fight broke out, during which he was punched repeatedly and died of his injuries.

Schembri told police: "He come over and he didn't bring his missus and there was a bit of a confrontation. With his kind of money he could have bought a bloody whorehouse or whatever, but yet he chose to come to us. He betrayed us and then he pushed that button."

Gruesome details of the disposal of his body emerged during the trial. Schembri used a chainsaw to dismember Rockefeller; he then burned his remains in a 44-gallon drum in a friend's backyard, before burying his bones.

The judge accepted the couple's manslaughter plea, jailing Schembri for a minimum of seven years and Denny for a minimum of five.

- NZ Herald

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