Ex-factory girl who married boss loses plea for more after £73m divorce win

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Janie Martin met super-rich Rupert Martin in 1985 when she was a 23-year-old shop floor worker in his factory, the Appeal Court heard. Mr Martin, whose lighting manufacturing business Dextra Group has lucrative contracts with supermarket giants Tesco and Iceland, married Janie, his third bride, in 1989.

The couple, who have two children, “enjoyed a very high lifestyle”, with a £5million listed home in Somerset, a £10million ultra-modern house in Hampshire, complete with helicopter hangar, and a £2.6million home in Kings Road, west London, before they separated in 2015.

Mr Martin also spends £1million a year on a motor racing team in which the couple’s 30-year-old son Alex is a driver, and recently spent more than £5million on an 860-acre shooting estate in Somerset.

After a High Court hearing last year, divorce judge Mr Justice Mostyn ruled that Mrs Martin was due about £73million from the £182million family fortune.

But Mrs Martin, 56, went to the Appeal Court to seek an extra £17million, claiming her £73million payout was “unfair” and she had been short-changed.

Yesterday Lord Justice Moylan rejected her claim and told her she would have to wait longer for her money, giving Mr Martin, 69, three more years to raise the cash to settle with her.

The court heard that when they met, the wife was a shop floor worker in the husband’s factory and Mr Martin was still married to his second wife.

He divorced in 1987 and married Janie, who had also been married before.

For 29 years, they enjoyed a vast “personal fortune” and were “able to buy a number of properties of exceptional quality in London, Hampshire, Somerset, Devon and Austria,” the court heard.

They included a modernist home on the banks of Beaulieu River in the New Forest, which is now Mrs Martin’s home, and a listed country pile near Horsington, Somerset.

They have two children, Lizzy, 27 and Alex.

Martin Pointer, QC, for Mrs Martin, said the divorce judge got the company valuation wrong when the relationship started and said it should have been £1.6million, not £44million.

He also said the judge did not consider the fact that Mr Martin owned only half the business in 1986.

But Lord Justice Moylan ruled that Mr Justice Mostyn’s decision on how to split the money “resonates with fairness”.

He said it “takes an overarching view of the weight to be attributed to the husband’s contributions to the business throughout its existence”.

Sitting with Lord Justice Simon and Lord Justice Coulson, Lord Justice Moylan allowed part of Mr Martin’s counter-appeal, overturning an order that he must pay £20million of the lump sum by next year.

He will now pay £5million a year over four years.

Lord Justice Moylan said he was making this move to avoid potential damage to his business if he were forced to take out “a sum as large as £20million” in one go at short notice.

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