Robert Kissel 'willing to give up half his wealth'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 12:00am

A colleague and friend of Robert Kissel said the late Merill Lynch banker was willing to give up half of his wealth in exchange for visiting rights to his children if he separated from his wife Nancy.

David Noh, a colleague and friend of Robert's, was testifying at the retrial of Nancy Kissel, 46, who is accused of murdering Robert, 40, on or about November 2, 2003.

'What he told me was he was happy to give up half of his wealth to his wife. He wants to see the kids regularly,' he said.

He said Robert, whose estate was estimated at US$18 million, wanted access to his three children, rather than their custody. He added that Robert always thought Nancy was a good mother.

Nancy Kissel has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter, which the prosecution has rejected. She allegedly dealt blows to Robert's head with a lead ornament, placed his body in a sleeping bag and carpet, and arranged for it to be removed to a storeroom.

Noh added that at the time Robert was close to confirming an offer by Merill Lynch to work in Tokyo.

Noh said Robert made up his mind for a divorce after he discovered a phone bill which showed his wife making a number of long-distance calls to her boyfriend in the US.

The court heard that Noh made a missing person's report to police on November 6, 2003, after he last spoke to Robert on November 2. He said he made the report because it was unusual for Robert, who used to contact him several times a week to talk about work, not to contact him for such a long time. Noh said in their last conversation, Robert sounded tired and depressed, distraught by his marital problems and was only partially coherent.

Noh said Robert usually behaved sharply, clearly and was quick to respond. The prosecution earlier said that Robert had drunk a milkshake prepared by his wife, and that a post-mortem examination found six drugs in his body, four of which had been prescribed to her.

The court also heard he had visited Taiwan several times from February to April, 2003. Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Nancy Kissel, asked Noh whether he knew Robert had been searching phrases such as 'entertainment in Taiwan', 'escorts service', 'gay anal sex in Taiwan' and 'Taiwan massage'. Noh answered in the negative. The trial continues.