‘I’m absolutely gobsmacked’: Shocked locals claim the lucky couple awarded their neighbours Sydney waterfront estate worth up to $40 million didn’t deserve such a big ‘reward’
- When Barbara Murphy she left behind a Sydney waterfront estate of $40 million
- Before she died Mrs Murphy promised her neighbours they would get her estate
- But they only received $25,000 and took her siblings, who she left it to, to court
- The couple won, to the shock of others who live near Mrs Murphy on the street
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Locals have been left shocked after a $40 million waterfront estate was handed to a neighbouring couple in an extraordinary court decision that overruled a woman’s last will.
When Barbara Murphy died at 83 in 2015 she left her two properties at Birchgrove, a harbourside suburb in Sydney’s inner-west, to her elderly brother and sister.
The will also provided that her neighbours David Moore and Dee Andreasen received $25,000.
That allowance came after the couple agreed not to build an extension to their home that would block Mrs Murphy’s view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – and also care for her in her final years.
But Mr Moore and Mrs Andreasen told the NSW Supreme Court that Mrs Murphy had promised to give them a lot more than just $25,000 – her whole $40 million estate.
Chief Judge Kathryn Ward agreed with the couple and last week ordered 66 and 68 Louisa Road be signed over to them leaving other neighbours in the street shocked.
The decision to give the entire estate – worth an estimated $40 million – to the couple has shocked other neighbours such as Bev Maunsell (pictured)
Mrs Murphy and her husband owned both 66 and 68 Louisa Road at Birchgrove, while David Moore and Dee Andreasen moved into number 70 in 1999
Bev Maunsell lived across the road from Mrs Murphy for more than 30 years.
She said she does not believe being the couple’s actions warranted getting someone else’s home.
‘I’m absolutely flabbergasted,’ Mrs Maunsell told Daily Mail Australia.
‘She was an amazing woman. She used to mow the lawns for all the houses along there and all the able bodied men used to give her money for petrol, including Mr Moore.
Mrs Maunsell’s view is shared by fellow Louisa Road resident Drew Vukelic, who also gave evidence at the Supreme Court hearing.
‘He organised some people, apparently from his church, they came and looked after her superbly,’ he said.
‘I would’ve thought you may give them a little bit, sure, but not the whole estate.’
The NSW Supreme Court has ruled ownership of the two properties on the left should be given to David Moore and his partner Dee Andreasen, after they were promised to them by their old owner Barbara Murphy when she died
In return, the couple told the court Ms Murphy would leave them her entire estate, including two properties worth $9million at the time (Birchgrove pictured)
The NSW Supreme Court heard when Mr Moore and Ms Andreasen told Mrs Murphy they wanted to extend their home at 70 Louisa Road, she complained it would block her harbour view.
They say she offered them her properties – 66 and 68 Louisa Road – if they waited to begin the build until after she was dead.
Mr Moore told the court that his elderly neighbour praised him and his partner and said they had been ‘so good’ to her over the years.
‘I want you and Dee to help me to stay living here,’ Ms Murphy said, according to Mr Moore’s evidence in court.
‘Will you help me to do that as I get older? I will see to it that in my will everything goes to you and Dee when I am gone.’
Mr Moore promised he would take care of Ms Murphy and ‘look after her’ as she got older, he told the court.
‘We are sure that we can figure out a way that we can renovate without building out your view,’ he said.
All three homes have views of Sydney Harbour Bridge from their waterside backyards
I would’ve thought you may give them a little bit, sure, but not the whole estate,’ neighbour Drew Vukelic said
‘Then if you leave everything to us in your will, we are very happy with that.’
Just a year before her death Mr Moore took Ms Murphy to see her solicitor to get a new will but was horrified to discover that the elderly woman had not included him.
Instead, she left almost her entire estate to her brother and sister equally and if she outlived them, the money was to go to two Sydney hospitals.
After Ms Murphy’s death Mr Moore contacted his lawyer saying he was ‘unhappy’ he had been left with $25,000 when he had been promised the entire estate.
Ms Murphy’s sister was also surprised she inherited so much property since she was told the estate would go to the neighbours, the court heard.
Her brother also admitted he had no interest in the property as he did not know how much it was worth.
Mr Moore visited Mrs Murphy’s siblings – both in their 80s at the time – and asked for both of them to give up their share to him.
Both refused, to which Chief Judge Ward said she was ‘not surprised’.
When Mr Moore and Mrs Andreasen purchased 70 Louise Road in 1999 it was regarded as the ‘worst house in the best street’, the court heard
‘That to my mind was surprisingly optimistic, though perhaps I am too cynical’, she said.
The court heard Mr Moore and Ms Andreasen decided to take legal action because they had kept their side of the agreement.
Chief Judge Ward ruled she was satisfied there was a ‘clear representation by the deceased to the effect that, if the plaintiffs looked after her (in the way in which Ms Andreasen had been looking after her own mother), so that the deceased could stay in her own home for as long as possible, then the deceased would leave the Louisa Road properties to them’.
Ms Murphy’s lawyer and both her siblings have all died since the legal proceedings began.
The transfer will go through to the Mr Moore and Ms Andreasen by the end of the month.