Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dead Millionair Guilty Of Kidnap And Rape

The High Court ruled yesterday that the estate of Chris Dawes, the founder of networking company Micromuse, should pay damages to a woman he attacked before his death in 1999.

The Court awarded Amanda Lawson £259,000 for the three day incident in 1998. Lawson sued Dawes's estate for pyschological damage she suffered and her inability to continue her business. The judge said there was overwhelming evidence she had been attacked.

A MODEL suing the estate of an Australian millionaire playboy has already been beaten to the courtroom by his family who successfully squeezed millions of dollars from his fortune.

Amanda Lawson claims computer tycoon Chris Dawes drugged her with crack cocaine and repeatedly raped her. She appeared in London's High Court last week in an attempt to get a substantial sum from Dawes's $59 million estate.

Dawes, 39, died when his $1.5 million McLaren F1 sports car smashed into a tree in Essex three months after the alleged attack on Lawson over Christmas 1998. His death sparked a protracted series of legal battles across three continents.

Dawes was a former Adelaide amusement arcade worker, who made his fortune from computer software company Micromuse, which he set up in an attic when he moved to London in 1989. His fortune was estimated at $59 million when he died and comprised 65 luxury cars, including five Ferraris worth $6 million, exclusive homes in London, Essex, San Francisco and Amsterdam, and a private jet, helicopter and yacht.

But he left just 10 per cent of his fortune to his daughters Prudence, 10, and Ruby, 7, with the rest going to crime-fighting groups in Britain. His parents disputed the will in the South Australian Supreme Court.

Lawyer Gary Palasis, representing Dawes's estate, said the matter was resolved by agreement last September. Dawes's mother, Audine, was paid $1.5 million, his sister Belinda Marsh $1.25 million and his father Ernest $1.1 million.

Lawson's case had been bogged down by procedural matters for years before the London hearing last week.

She claimed the multimillionaire had lured her to the isolated Channel Island Alderney with the offer of a job running a modelling agency to be fronted by Naomi Campbell.

She was picked up by private helicopter in London and flown to the Devereux House Hotel, one of several properties Dawes owned on the island. He greeted her wearing his trademark black leather trousers, black Gucci shirt and black-painted toenails.

Her solicitor said she was taken to a room of "utter squalor" that was littered with empty vodka bottles and ashtrays. She was given a pint glass of vodka and tonic and forced to smoke crack cocaine through a pipe. She was forced to have sex with Dawes after being told his former SAS minders could arrange an accident.

The three-day ordeal of "fear and degradation" ended when she finally managed to call her boyfriend who alerted Alderney police, her solicitor said. It left her unable to return to work and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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