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Custody Row Child Feels Like A Rag Doll, Says Lawyer

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Updates with fresh quotes from Caitlin's father

Auckland, Oct 14 NZPA - Caitlin Thorne, the seven-year-old girl at the centre of a custody row between her parents, is very unhappy at the public intrusion into her life, says an Auckland lawyer.

Caitlin was expected to be handed over to a "nominated" family member sometime today after allegedly being snatched by her mother Nicola Richards from her grandparents home in west Auckland last Tuesday.

She had been holidaying with her grandparents from Sydney where she lived with her father Terry Thorne.

He went public after she failed to return home in time for school yesterday.

He said that he was worried for her safety because her mother was a drug addict who kept bad company.

Richards was remanded on bail after appearing in Auckland District Court today on drugs charges.

Outside the court her lawyer Chris Comeskey said that Caitlin would be handed over to a nominated family member in Auckland later today.

He said that she was unhappy about the media publicity surrounding her and felt like "a rag doll to be pulled and pushed".

"She has been with family and extended family."

Mr Thorne told AAP this afternoon that he was "absolutely stoked" his daughter was coming home.

He said he would fly to Auckland tomorrow to be reunited with Caitlin after police rang him today 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," he said.

Mr Thorne said he had been granted custody of Caitlin after a parenting order was granted two days after her disappearance.

Mr Comeskey told the court today Richards would plead not guilty to three drugs charges.

She had pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching a community work order and was remanded to appear again on December 9 on all four charges.

He said there were no criminal charges in relation to the custody dispute.

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

Mr Comeskey said he was although the parenting order was made without input from Richards he was "fully confident an opportunity would be given for our side of the story to be put".

He would not reveal any other details in the custody row.

"Our side is that we have done nothing wrong and there is a lot of detail but it is probably not wise to go into it here," Mr Comeskey said.

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