Perth mining heiress Olivia Mead loses nearly $20 million on appeal

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE award of $25 million to the youngest daughter of the late Perth mining billionaire Michael Wright has been slashed to $6 million after his estate appealed.

Olivia Mead, who was born from Mr Wright’s relationship with Elizabeth Anne Mead after he divorced three wives, was aged 19 in 2015 when Master Craig Sanderson of the Supreme Court of WA ruled her bequest should be increased more than eightfold.

The estate argued in the WA Court of Appeal that the $3 million Ms Mead had originally inherited was adequate for her proper maintenance.

On Wednesday, the full bench of judges unanimously set aside Master Sanderson’s orders, instead awarding the 22-year-old $6.14 million.

Ms Mead’s older half-sisters, Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt, were left most of their father’s estate – about $400 million each.

During the appeal, the estate took aim at the now 22-year-old’s extravagant wishlist, which was submitted to estimate her future needs.

It included a $US1.2 million crystal-studded grand piano, a diamond-encrusted bass guitar, upkeep for her pet axolotl, also known as a “Mexican walking fish” and provision for four children that she planned to have.

Jane Needham, representing estate executor David Lemon, cited Ms Mead’s call for 20 pairs of $300 shoes every year for the next 75 years and Pilates lessons until she was aged 97, which Justice Michael Buss labelled “just silly”, saying what might be needed was a reasonable house and income.

Ms Mead’s lawyer Lindsay Ellison argued the court could take everything into account when assessing what a daughter from a wealthy family might need for the rest of her life, saying the $25 million award was large but “minimal compared to the size of the estate”.

There were also no competing claimants, he said, and the court could “go that extra bit further, and add some cheese and jam” rather than just the essentials of life.

Ms Mead was not present in court when the judgment was handed down.