Wealthy father ordered to buy £1m home for daughter of his former mistress

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The Independent Online

The wealthy unmarried father of a two-year-old girl was ordered yesterday to buy his daughter a £1m home by the Court of Appeal.

The wealthy unmarried father of a two-year-old girl was ordered yesterday to buy his daughter a £1m home by the Court of Appeal.

The hearing also ruled that the child's mother will receive £70,000 a year for her daughter's upkeep plus money for school fees, although unmarried mothers are not legally entitled to claim maintenance for themselves.

The case, in which none of the parties could be named to avoid identification of the child, marked the first time an unmarried mother had made child support claims in the Court of Appeal. The hearing was told that the "fabulously wealthy" father who enjoys a "flamboyant lifestyle", could pay a £10m lump sum towards his daughter "without blinking".

But he described his attitude towards the girl as "ambivalent" since falling out with her mother following the demise of their four-year relationship. The businessman, 46, based in Mayfair, has seen his daughter, referred to as L, three times since her birth in July 2000.

Lord Justice Thorpe, and Lord Justice Kay and Mr Justice Bodey, ruled yesterday that the maintenance payments awarded to the mother in the High Court last October were insufficient.

As a result, her £35,000 annual income and £450,000 fund to buy a house were both doubled, while the £30,000 payment for furnishings was trebled. The case will now be reconsidered in the High Court during which the financial provisions of the father will be reconsidered.

Lord Justice Thorpe said: "It might well be said that L's prospects of enjoying a relationship with her father in and beyond her minority may be strengthened rather than diminished by whatever enhanced familiarity with his world material benefits would provide."

He went on: "L will need to feel at ease in the surroundings that her father inhabits and with the company that he keeps."

The mother earlier told the court how she had met the father at the nightclub Tramp eight years ago. While they never lived together, she frequently spent nights at his house but was aware that their relationship was not exclusive.

When she informed him she was pregnant in 1999, the father said he had formed the view that the relationship was over.