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Child At Centre Of Custody Dispute Handed Back To Grandparents

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Updates with fresh quotes from Caitlin's father and mother

Auckland, Oct 14 NZPA - The father of a girl at the centre of a trans-Tasman tug-of-love was tonight trying to get to New Zealand to be reunited with his daughter.

Police today oversaw the handing back to her grandparents of seven-year-old Caitlin Thorne, who was allegedly snatched by her mother Nicola Richards in west Auckland last week.

Richards appeared in Auckland District Court today on drugs charges and after her appearance her lawyer Chris Comeskey said it had been agreed Caitlin would be handed over to a "nominated person".

Caitlin was subsequently returned to her maternal grandparents, from whose property she was allegedly snatched last Tuesday.

She had been on holiday from, Sydney where she lived with her father Terry Thorne.

He was tonight trying to book a flight to Auckland to see her tomorrow.

He told TV3 he managed to speak to Caitlin this afternoon.

"We couldn't say any words other than tears. She was crying, I was crying."

Richards told TV3 she had been arguing with Mr Thorne for some time about where Caitlin should live.

"She was taken from me 10 months ago and I haven't seen her since and he took her for the wrong reasons."

Both parents had legal custody of Caitlin when she was allegedly taken last week.

Now Richards wants to keep her daughter with her in New Zealand, while Mr Thorne wants her returned to Australia, so it seems the matter is headed for the Family Court.

Tonight, on Campbell Live, Richards denied that she was a drug addict and associated with criminals as her former partner had alleged.

"I'm not a drug addict," she said.

"I'm having a drug test at 2.30 this afternoon and a negative test will show that."

She said that Caitlin had been with her most of the time since she had taken her from her parents' home, and had not been around drugs or criminals.

Mr Thorne said he had been granted custody of Caitlin after an interim parenting order was granted to him on Thursday.

Richards said she would defend the drug charges which related to allegations drug paraphenalia had been found in her car while she was visiting her boyfriend in prison.

Her boyfriend was reported to be facing a charge of murdering undercover police office Sergeant Don Wilkinson in Mangere last month.

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