The Australian story
21 September 2010
Andrew's dad wants police to act against charities who helped wife Peter Wilson, Europe Correspondent.
Ken Thompson has called for investigations following the disclosure his wife received help from charities after fleeing with their son.
The Australian revealed yesterday that Melinda Stratton received shelter from two Christian charities in Amsterdam and stayed for a lengthy period with friends in Austria after fleeing during Family Court hearings in April 2008 into the custody of Andrew, who was then 3 1/2 years old.
Ms Stratton appears to have also received support from people in Australia, and was in contact with a barrister in England who has not been named by The Australian for legal reasons but who is known to have links to Ms Stratton's supporters in Australia.
Ms Stratton and her son were taken into custody two weeks ago after another mother at the school Andrew was attending in Amsterdam became suspicious and found internet references to Ken Thompson's campaign to have his son returned.
The mother and son had been living under the names Mandy and Timothy Welsh in Amsterdam, where they were sheltered for a short time by the Sisters of Charity order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa, and for six months by an African Methodist Evangelical congregation.
The leader of that congregation, South African-born priest Msizi Dube, and a former Dutch judge who acts as an adviser to the Sisters of Charity both told The Australian they helped her because she said she feared her husband would harm Andrew if he were returned to Australia.
Both groups said they were aware she had fled Australia illegally but said their charities often worked with illegal immigrants and other people who were "on the wrong side of the law", and their main priority had been trying to help the welfare of a desperate mother and child.
Mr Thompson said yesterday he was horrified by the attitude of the charities and others who had supported his wife.
Mr Thompson said the Catholic church must explain its actions.
Mr Thompson, the former deputy chief of the NSW Fire Brigade saidThese people have been aiding and abetting a serious crime, the denial of human rights to Andrew and to me.
There is no doubt that Melinda is highly believable and, just out of laziness, they seem to have accepted her delusion that I am somehow a threat to Andrew.
It is incredible that they decided they had the right to intervene and help this woman based on nothing more than what she told them. What about Andrew's rights? What about my rights and the pain this has caused to my mother and stepmother? I never dreamed that legitimate charities would get involved in that sort of behaviour.
How many other children who have been abducted by a parent have not been found because well-meaning but unthinking charities have helped that parent to escape the law?
I want to see police action, and political action and some more answers about who was involved.
In a statement released yesterday Mr Thompson urged police to check the contents of the room where Ms Stratton and Andrew had been staying in Amsterdam.
Ken Thompson saidThe Pope has been accused of shielding paedophiles; now we know for certain that these nuns have shielded an abductor
Mr Thompson said he always suspected his wife was receiving advice and financial support from within Australia and perhaps overseas.
Ms Stratton faces extradition proceedings. Dutch childcare services are caring for Andrew.
It will be interesting to see if the AG and the FCA will take action to get to the bottom of matters and prosecute those in Australia who assisted and aided and abetted this crime. Certainly it would send a harsh message to those who wish to support wayward parents.
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