……….Next: Finding Mum
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Background - Part 2: Kidnap, Lies and Searching for Mum
After Dad's funeral, life went on as normal. We kept in touch with Mum who was becoming more and more forgetful and seemed to be in the early stages of Dementia. She used to love it when we chatted on the phone. Dave used to regularly pop in to see her when he was working nearby. She was very fond of him. He always used to call Mum his "favourite mother-in-law", and she would giggle and say, "but I'm your ONLY mother-in-law!" It was easier for Dave to see Mum, either on his own or with the children. There were other brethren who lived in the same street and obviously they knew who I was, so we didn't want to risk Mum being punished for me visiting. I did sometimes go under the cover of darkness, but it wasn’t often because of the risk. Mum adored Jade and Zaine and would cuddle them and then go to the kitchen and come back with a little treat for them, a chocolate bar or some sweeties.
On 26 September 2008, Dave popped in to see Mum as he was working locally. He took some homegrown tomatoes for her. As always, Mum was pleased to see him. She said she would only need a couple of the tomatoes as she was going to New Zealand "the day after tomorrow" for a short holiday. She was surprised that we didn't know, remarking, "hasn't anyone told you?" Mum didn't know much about the holiday. She said it had been arranged for her and all she knew was that she was going to NZ to stay with her niece and nephew, David and Irma Daries. She told Dave that she intended to be home in time for her birthday at the end of October.
Dave came home and told me and we were both very concerned. Mum was in poor health, her memory was bad, she suffered from back problems and had recently undergone surgery for breast cancer. I debated going to see Mum but decided against it; there was a high possibility of brethren being at her house. I tried to ring her but the phone was constantly engaged. It was engaged all of the next day also. When it finally rang, it was not answered. Mum had gone. The brethren must have deliberately taken the phone off the hook, knowing that I would ring.
On Monday 28 September 2008, the day after Mum had left the country, I received correspondence from the Court of Protection, advising that my mother was deemed to have "lost capacity" under the Mental Health Act, due to Dementia. My brother had applied for Power of Attorney and I was being asked if I agreed to this or if I intended to object. Jade, by now aged 19, also received the same correspondence.
Given the dubious "holiday" of which I had only just learned, I had the distinct feeling that my brother did not have my mother's best interests in mind. I therefore decided to object to the registration of Power of Attorney.
Later that day, I rang Jean Gurr, a local brethren lady who used to do some shopping and cleaning for Mum. I said I was very concerned to hear that Mum was going on such a far away holiday, and asked how it came about.
Jean Gurr lied to me.
She told me that Anne Sturt, a brethren spinster, was going on a trip to NZ and they thought it was a "wonderful opportunity for Mum to go too", and spend time with relatives. She was very vague when I asked when Mum was returning, saying it was just for a few weeks and that Mum had an open return ticket. I asked for a telephone number so that I could keep in touch with Mum. Jean said she would check and see if it was OK to pass on. After much chasing on our part, the number for my NZ relatives was finally, reluctantly, passed to us.
I kept in touch with Mum in NZ. She repeatedly told me that she was only spending a short time there on holiday and would be returning to her UK home.
The weeks went by and our concern and worry was increasing. There was definitely something amiss about Mum's trip to the Southern Hemisphere. At the end of October, Dave spoke to Jean Gurr, to ask what plans were being made for Mum's return. Jean told Dave that she had been unwell and was undergoing diagnostic tests and could no longer help Mum in her home. She said this was why Mum had been sent on "holiday" to NZ. Jean asked Dave not to mention returning to the UK to Mum and also requested that we tell no one about her ill health, she said she was confiding in him. Dave asked Jean if Mum was definitely coming back to England. Jean said she was.
Mum’s birthday came and went and each time I rang her, she would reiterate her wish to return to the UK, as England was her home. I asked her if she was thinking of staying in NZ, but she insisted she had no such plans. She did tell me though that she had no idea when she was returning because it was out of her hands.
The last few occasions when I rang to speak to Mum, there was no reply. On 29 April 2009, I rang again and managed to speak to my cousin, Irma. She said that my mother had been back in the UK since March 2009, staying with my brother.
On 8 May 2009 I plucked up the courage to ring my brother's house in order to speak to Mum. It took courage, because I felt he would be hostile towards me and would probably prevent me from talking to Mum. When I rang I was met with the "number unobtainable", tone. I rang Mum's house and was greeted with the same tone. I rang Jean Gurr and because of my fear that something was almost certainly not right, I decided to record the conversation.
The following is a transcript of that conversation:
Me: Hello, is that Jean?
Me: Hello, it’s Marion Evans here. I just wondered if I could have Clem’s number
Jean: What.....? Phone number?
Me: Yes please
Jean: I haven’t got it
Me: You haven’t got it?
Me: We used to have his number, but he appears to have changed it
Jean: Yes, I haven’t got it
Me: Right.... When did he change that then? When he moved?
Jean: Well..... I suppose so....
Me: Do you not have the brethren book any more, with all the numbers in?
Jean: No, we haven’t got that one at all
Me: Oh right, do you know who I could call to get the number?
Jean: Well, only Irma I should think - if she’s got it, I don’t know
Me: OK, I’ll try ringing New Zealand then
Jean: Yeah, I’m sorry. We just haven’t been given it
Me: Oh right, I’ll try contacting Irma then
Jean: If I contact him at all in any way it’s for business or something, but that’s rare now
Jean: I’m sorry about that, I really can’t help
Me: When you say you speak to him re business, is there a business number I can perhaps contact him on?”
Jean: I expect there is, but whether I’m allowed to give that, I don’t know – it’s a brother’s business, it’s not his you see
Me: Oh, is it still ‘Stand by Fire Protection’?
Me: Oh he’s not at ‘Stand by’ any more?
Jean: No, he’s got some other job – with another brother...
Me: Oh OK
Jean: I’d need to ask Pete if it’s alright to let you have that one, but.... that’s how I contact at all
Me: Who does he work for now then?
Jean: I don’t even know what his name is... I was just, you know, found a number.... and used that one....
Me: OK ??
Jean: I’m trying to see if I can see it now... I had it on a scrap of paper, but that was only in emergency I used it.....
Me: Oh right, OK
Jean: It’s probably best to contact Irma and see how you get on there, I’m sorry to be so vague
Me: OK, alright I just assumed.......
Jean: We haven’t contacted you see ‘cause it’s a bit out of our hands you see
Me: I just assumed that you would have their number because obviously you had so much contact with you helping Mum, etc
Jean: Yes, but they haven’t given it to us, so......
Me: OK, I’ll try ringing Irma then...
Jean: All right
Me: Thank you
As can be seen from this transcript, it was full of deceit. If Jean read that now, I wonder if she can see the absurdity of what she was saying. She was effectively saying that if she wanted to contact my brother, she just dialed a random number she "found" on a scrap of paper!
I was extremely worried. I rang NZ again and spoke to my cousin, David. He told me that Mum hadn't actually returned to England, as I had been told. Instead, she was now in Australia, living with my brother who had emigrated there. The conversation was so surreal that I actually thought that my cousin thought he was talking to someone else, about someone else's mother. I had absolutely no idea that my brother had emigrated. David told me that he did not have my brother's contact details and refused to give me the number of any brethren in the area. He told me that the secret relationship that we had enjoyed with my mother was "not right”. This is brethren speak for anything that is contrary to their doctrine.
I was absolutely devastated. I could not believe the conversation that had taken place. I rang my best friend, Helen Ghinn, and I remember just sobbing the words out, that Mum had been taken to Australia and now lived there with my brother.
I had known Jean Gurr quite well before I left the brethren. I used to look after her children. I couldn’t understand why she would have lied to me like she did. She knew that Mum was being taken to Australia, but she didn’t tell me.
It then dawned on us that we were never meant to find out that Mum was going on "holiday". It was just by chance that Dave had called to see Mum and she had told him. We weren't meant to find out because Mum wasn't "going on holiday". She was going to NZ on route to Australia where arrangements had been made for her to spend the rest of her life. Little did we know that Mum was going to be forced to relocate to a country on the other side of the world, where she knew almost no one. The whole thing was a conspiracy. It fell into place then, why the original intention was to bury my father in someone else's grave. They had known when he died over a year ago that my mother would not be ending her life in the UK. They must have just been waiting for my father to die in order to put their plans into action. Dad had told me some years ago when he was around 91years old that my brother wanted to emigrate to Australia and could not afford to do so. He had asked if Dad and Mum would go with them to help him finance it. Dad confided in me that he had no intention of undertaking such an upheaval at that late stage in their lives. He gave me copies of his and Mum's Wills and told me that he didn't trust my brother to do the right thing when the time came. It all began to make sense; my brother emigrating to Australia, taking Mum with him and applying for Power of Attorney at the same time. The whole thing had been orchestrated to keep us firmly in the dark. It was unbelievably cruel.
I made many enquiries via various local brethren to try to trace my brother and they repeatedly lied to me and deceived me.
My brother finally rang me on 2 June 2009, nearly five weeks after I had lost all contact with my mother. He knew I was frantic with worry about Mum but bizarrely he started the conversation asking how my children were, how they were doing at school and college and asking about Jade’s interest in photography I told him I didn’t want to talk about my children and needed news about Mum. He wouldn't give me his contact details when I asked for them, just said that he lived north of Sydney. He refused to let me speak to Mum, saying she was unavailable. He told me he did not have to answer any of my questions and he terminated the call.
In part three I will include a brief extract of the transcript of the conversation I had with my brother, which I recorded.
……….Next: Finding Mum