Melbourne multimillionaire businessman Herman Rockefeller led the ultimate double life. Devoted father, church-goer and fitness fanatic, Mr Rockefeller died in the seediest of circumstances. He died in 2010 at the hands of couple Mario Schembri, an illiterate rubbish-collector and his alcoholic girlfriend, Bernadette Denny. Mr Rockefeller had visited the home of Denny to take part in what was meant to be a “wife swap”. Mr Rockefeller was an avid user of personal classifieds and hooked up with strangers for sex. He had previously had sex with Miss Denny while Schembri watched.
Author and barrister Hilary Bonney explores this case that gripped Melbourne, much in the same way (probably to a lesser degree) that the Wales-King society murders did. Bonney wrote a book on that case too.
The disappointing aspect of the book, and it’s not Bonney’s fault, is that there’s no real explanation why the pair killed Mr Rockefeller or what actually happened. It seems Mr Rockefeller may have been alive for a number of hours and dying on the concrete floor of Denny’s garage before they cut his body up with a chainsaw and burned him.
I felt really sorry for his wife and children, whose lives were completely shattered by the revelations of their husband and father’s secret life and seedy nature of his death, let alone the fact that he had died.
The Double LIfe of Herman Rockefeller is published by Penguin.