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NSW girl to be reunited with Dad in NZ

National Nine News 14.10.2008

A Sydney father will fly to New Zealand on Wednesday to be reunited with his seven-year-old daughter after she became the subject of a police hunt when she disappeared from her grandparents' home.

Caitlin Thorne went missing after her mother Nicola Lee Richards met her last Tuesday while the young girl was visiting her maternal grandparents in Auckland.

Terry Thorne has custody of his daughter but had allowed her to holiday with her grandparents provided she did not visit Richards, who has been charged with drug offences.

Richards' lawyer Chris Comeskey said his client would return the girl "to a nominated person in Auckland" later on Tuesday.

"(The girl) is in New Zealand. She has been with family and extended family," Comeskey said.

Thorne told AAP he was "absolutely stoked" his daughter was coming home.

He said he would fly to Auckland on Wednesday to be reunited with Caitlin after police rang him asking where he wanted her dropped off.

He had been negotiating with Richards to allow her to have supervised access in the future, and said he understood his ex-partner's actions.

"She hasn't seen her daughter for 10 months and she misses her, but the approach that she took isn't the best," Thorne said.

The Sydney man obtained a Family Court order in New Zealand last week giving police the power to seize the girl from her mother if she was found.

Richards, 34, appeared in the Auckland District Court, where she faced two counts of possessing or using utensils for methamphetamine or amphetamine and one count of wilfully obstructing, resisting or deceiving.

She pleaded not guilty to those charges, but guilty to a charge of breaching community work.

She will reappear in court on December 9.

"My client only become aware that there is a parenting order yesterday and has acted responsibly and timely in seeking advice at all times with the intention the child be repatriated and the issues that do exist are dealt with," Comeskey told reporters outside the court.

He said Caitlin was upset about the media publicity surrounding her situation.

"She is not happy with having been dragged into this, like some sort of ragdoll to be pulled and pushed," he said.

Auckland Police Detective Sergeant Eugene Pickett said Caitlin's disappearance was not considered an abduction.

He said Caitlin went willingly to her mother before the Family Court order giving police the power to seize the girl was made.

There also has to be consideration given to her mothers environment though monster, if she is addicted to methamphetamine or amphetamine then the environment may not be safe for the child and her mother may not have the capacity to ensure the childs safety.

The other point being that the mothers lawyer is expressing what a seven year old has said to him and this smells a lot like coaching by the mother and the lawyer.

Whether she finds it acceptable at the time or not it may well be a necessity for her own safety.

Either way it showed good fortitude by the N.Z. courts.

Remember it's the mothers actions that forced the response and concern for the childs safety and if she had to use correct channels as many fathers do there would never have been an issue.

No Dis monster your post was a little open and I just took it the wrong way.

The child herself would have simply gone with her mother because she knew no difference and perhaps this is credit to the father as it shows a strong probability that he has not resorted to any form of alienation to put fear in the childs mind.

This would also reflect that in the short time her mother had her daughter that she has indeed applied alienation techniques going by the childs response to the lawyer.

It's sad that there appeared to be o other choice than to estrange the mother from the child perhaps the mother will take this contact as a reason to get straight for her child.
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