Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Girlfriend Speaks out on $350K; Airman's Children Lose Bulk of Inheritance

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Girlfriend Speaks out on $350K; Airman's Children Lose Bulk of Inheritance

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana McCauley

THE de facto partner of Daniel Leverton, the RAAF serviceman whose young daughters were left out of the bulk of his estate, has broken her silence.

Kirsty Lea Lewis, a RAAF servicewoman who worked with Mr Leverton and was his legal de facto at the time of his death, has defended her decision to pocket the bulk of the $451,500 worth of retirement savings and life insurance held by his superannuation fund - leaving his young children, born to a previous partner, with less than one-quarter of his estate.

Ms Lewis walked away with $352,170 after the mother of Mr Leverton's children unsuccessfully appealed a decision of Military Super to award Ms Lewis the lion's share, prompting the serviceman's father Geoff Leverton to slam the decision as a "travesty of justice".

But the young woman who had lived with the airman for the nine months leading up to his death has hit out at the family's claims the union was nothing more than a "casual" tryst, telling news.com.au through her lawyers that the pair had "a meaningful relationship".

Mr Leverton died suddenly in April, 2015 while on a surfing trip with friends at Arrawarra, after returning from a humanitarian mission in Vanuatu.

The airman's family has maintained that he had only signed a statutory declaration making Ms Lewis his de facto in order to avoid being posted interstate, thousands of kilometres away from his beloved daughters in Queensland.

Ms Lewis' solicitor said in a statement that she had attempted to settle the dispute with the girls' mother, Angela Watson, in July 2015.

"When the Military Super decision was originally handed down, our client made an offer to the mother of Mr Leverton's children, via her solicitor, to gift a significant sum to the children from the benefit she was due to receive," the statement said.

"This offer ... was never accepted by the mother of the children."

Military Super did not allow its members to nominate beneficiaries, she said, and had complete discretion over who would be paid out in the event of a serviceman's death. …

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