A blog which tells the story of the unbelievably cruel way in which my family was treated by the Exclusive Brethren, now rebranded Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.
Learn about the kidnap of my elderly Dementia-suffering mother, the lies that we were told and the way they tried to bribe me.
We are still being treated "vindictively, maliciously and unfairly", by these people, despite their pledge to the Charity Commission to make amends for past mistakes and act with Christian compassion.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Background - Part 3: Finding Mum
The following is a brief extract of the transcript of the telephone call
with my brother on 2 June 2009
Me: Mum told me that she wanted to come
back to England. And before she went to Australia, or went to New
Zealand, she actually told Dave that she wanted to be back for her birthday –
and she had every intention of being back for her birthday
Yeah, maybe, but she is currently
very happy where she is ..... and we’ve got accommodation here for her.
She’s being looked after well. Marly’s looking after her well....
Me: Do you know the other thing she
insisted on? She didn’t want to live with you and Marly, and Jean Gurr promised
us that she would never be made to do anything that she didn’t want to do
Well, I spoke to her the other day.....
and she’s perfectly happy where she is. She’s very thankful for the provision
that’s been made
Me: You spoke to her the other
day....? What do you mean, you spoke to her the other day?”
I asked her, my mother, I speak to
my mother nearly every day, but the point is, I spoke to her about this issue
the other day....
Me: So where is
Wait a minute, let me explain
something. She lives with us, OK? We’ve got a garage conversion,
and she’s got accommodation in there and she’s very comfortable and happy with
it and she keeps remarking on how she is, in the garage. She can hardly
believe it was a garage, it was put together very quickly and very properly, it
wasn’t shabby, it’s just like a little flat for her and she’s got a wet room,
shower-room, bathroom, toilet, and everything....
Me: But you don’t
see her on a daily basis then?
Well I go to work early and I come
home early (indignantly) But I do USUALLY see her every day, yes, I’ll pop in
and see her
Me: Have you any
idea how ridiculous this sounds..........?
do you mean?
Me: It just sounds ridiculous to me…. You
saying, “I spoke to her the other day”, as if you don’t have too much to do
with her anymore
I’m sorry if you think that way, but
please don’t think like that. It’s not that I don’t speak to my mother or
speak to her hardly ever, I’m saying that I asked her this question the other
day, and she told me about how happy she was to be where she is and she’s cared
for very well. She said that herself, spontaneously, several times.
That’s what I’m talking about
Me: Well, I’m telling you that when I
spoke to her in New Zealand, she told me every single time that she wanted to
come back to England, so for you to say that ..... then ...... she must have
been lying to me then?
I can’t tell you about that.
I’m just telling you the current situation is she’s very happy. And she
can tell you herself
Me: I would like
to speak to her
Yes I know you would, but she’s not
available at the moment, I can arrange for a time when you can. I can’t stay on
the phone VERY long because I’ve got to be going to work shortly, so .... it’s
ten to six now
Me: I still want to know why I wasn’t
told. Why I wasn’t given a chance to say goodbye. So what gives you then
the right to take her to the other side of the world, without even saying
goodbye to her daughter? You’re depriving me of my mother and you’re
depriving my mother of me. Regardless of what you think Clem, I had a
relationship with Mum, AND Dad
but, you took yourself away from the relationship, Marion
Me: No, I didn’t take myself away from
the relationship. I was IN a relationship. Dad used to come round
Yes I realise that, but you took
yourself away, you walked away from the fellowship, and stayed there
Me: I walked away from the brethren Clem,
because I didn’t want to live under such unrealistic constraints. I never
left a relationship with my parents. And my parents, BOTH, quite happily
carried on a relationship with me in secret. If my mum didn’t want to
speak to me, she would have told me that herself
I, I’m just mentioning the facts as, as they stand at this point. That’s
As I said before, he told me he didn’t have to answer my questions and
put the phone down on me.
I have included this extract for readers to see how bizarre it was. Why had
he said Mum was "unavailable"? Why didn't he just say that she
was asleep, after all, it was, as he said, "ten to six" in the morning.
I was very worried and didn’t know if Mum was alive or dead.
The next day I rang Irma in NZ. She told me that she did not have
a contact number for my brother. She was very vague and said she didn’t
want to get involved.She said that
information was being withheld from them because there was a fear they would
pass information to me.The previous day
Marilyn, my brother's wife had called and told them not to pass any information
to us.I told Irma I was very worried
and asked if Mum was OK, was she in hospital?Irma stammered and stuttered and said that she really didn’t know what
to say, and that she would desperately love to speak to Mum herself.I asked again if Mum was in hospital and Irma
said that she really didn’t know what the present situation was.
I feared the worst, and decided to ring hospitals north of Sydney, that
was all the information I had. I rang the General Hospital in a town
called Gosford, about an hour and a half north of Sydney.I was expecting it to be the first of many
that I would ring.I was absolutely
astonished when I was told that Mum had been admitted a few weeks
previously.I was transferred to Mum’s
bedside phone and I heard her voice.She
was clearly delighted to hear from me, but my brother happened to be there and
took the phone from her.He told me that
he would not allow me to speak to Mum, and once more, he put the phone down on
It was all falling into place now, the strange things my brother said in
our conversation – Mum wasn’t “available”, he’d spoken to her “the other
day”.Irma’s vagueness and discomfort
when I questioned her if Mum was in hospital.Why the secrecy?What on earth
did they think I could do in the knowledge the Mum was in hospital?Kidnap her?Then I realized, they didn’t want me to know that Mum was in hospital
because a hospital is a public place and as such, if I could get to Australia,they
could not stop me from seeing her.That
was the reason for the secrecy!
Over the next few days I had several conversations with medical staff at
the hospital.They knew a lot about the
Exclusive Brethren, given the negative publicity they have in Australia.They told me that Mum had been admitted
following a series of falls in my brother’s home.These had been “unwitnessed, unheard by
family” (extracted from Mum’s medical notes).They told me what a darling Mum was and how she would tell them stories
about her life as a midwife in South Africa.
Amongst other things, I was told by staff that Mum had a return ticket
to the UK.Notes were read to me from a
recent family meeting, which confirmed that the Physiotherapist and the
Occupational Therapist were both happy for Mum to be discharged with a care
package, but that Clem and Marilyn were adamant that they did not want Mum to
return to their home.They wanted her to
get “better” before they would consider this. This despite the fact she had
been declared medically fit.Staff tried
to explain to them that, even if Mum spent more time in a sub-acute facility,
it didn’t mean that she was going to get any “better”, as such, because she was
already medically fit.Obviously, her
Dementia could not get better.My
brother and his wife enquired about the possibility of a residential facility
but it was explained to them that as Mum was on a holiday visa, she was
probably not eligible.This is an
interesting point as my brother insists that it was Mum’s choice to emigrate to
Australia.I also have copies of my
mother’s medical notes, which confirm that Marilyn told hospital staff that Mum
was holidaying with them.Obviously
these lies were because they were hoping to take Mum into Australia via the
back door, and as they were new to Australia themselves they wanted to protect
their own immigration status.It is
amazing how these supposedly “Christian” people lie and deceive to suit
One nurse told me that Marilyn had told the nurses that they had to
shower Mum.So the nurses obliged and
once in the shower Mum apparently said, “I’m sick of this, she rules my life”.How awful it must have been for my poor mum,
in hospital, in a country where she knew next to no one, being controlled and
dominated like that.
I asked a nurse if my brother took Mum out at all and spent time with
her, and she said they didn’t.That made
me feel really sad.Mum was such a
gentle, selfless person.She had spent
her life caring for people.From the age
of 23 she had run her own private midwifery practice in South Africa. I can
always remember her putting others first, and now, in the twilight of her life,
she had been dragged to the other side of the world, away for all she knew,
only to be left in a hospital, alone.
Following conversations as above with nurses, on 12 June 2009, the Dr
called me.He confirmed everything that
the nurses had told me. Mum had been
medically fit for weeks but that my brother and his wife didn’t want her back
home with them. He said that his view was that Mum was able from a
medical point of view, to travel to the UK, with support. The Dr went on to say that Mum had been moved
to a convalescing hospital, Woy Woy General, about an hour earlier and that he
had been in touch with the Dr there. He told me that he had spoken
directly him and informed him of the EB issue and the fact that I would like my
mother to return to the UK and he thought that was a good idea.
Shortly after my conversations with hospital staff, Neil Kennard, an
Australian leader of the brethren, rang me twice. He was clearly ringing to try to smooth things over and he talked about a lot of irrelevant issues.He asked for my email address so his wife
could send me pictures of Gosford! “Just so you know what the area is like”!He said he could obtain a medical report for
Mum and email it to me!He said that the
reason that Mum was now in Australia was because my niece, Leanne, married an
Australian “and that’s what attracted Clem out here in the first place”.I had to keep directing him back to the
point, which was MUM.He asked, of all things, for me to send him a
picture of the family and me!“Just so
that we know you a little bit more”!As
if I was going to send a family photo to someone I didn’t know, who was hell bent
on playing for time and perpetuating the lies. He kept telling me that things are not the way
they appear.I reminded him that Clem
took the phone from Mum and wouldn’t let me speak to her, then cut the phone off.To me, it was perfectly clear, the way
things were.He said that had Clem
panicked after cutting the phone off and wanted to get back in touch with me
and had rung Neil about it.I don’t know
why he thought I would believe him.
As mentioned above, I already knew from the Dr I had spoken to that Mum
had moved from Gosford Hospital to Woy Woy Hospital, around 11 km away.I wanted to know if Neil would be honest with
me, so I asked him if Mum was still in Gosford Hospital.He told me that they had moved her to “a
different part of the hospital”.I
queried his response, asking if she was definitely in the same hospital.He answered that she was, that she had been
moved from the main area, to a lower care area, but that it was definitely in
the same hospital, just a different part.So he lied.
I found the phone calls from Neil Kennard most unsettling.However, they are also noteworthy.Some readers will know that the brethren’s
way of wriggling out of matters when they are under the spotlight for wrong-doing,
is to lie, and say it is a personal or “family” matter, as opposed to a church
matter, despite that fact that instruction to act in a particular way has come
from the brethren leadership.The
brethren then distance themselves from the issue in order to try to appear
blameless.The brethren regularly take
this stance, for example, in the dividing of a husband and wife.The brethren have repeatedly claimed it is a
“family matter”, in my situation (more on this later), but from the
intervention of Neil Kennard, now and later, it is quite clear that is not the
My best friend Helen and I went to visit Mum's next-door neighbour to
see what we could glean about the situation. Carol was a lovely, friendly
woman whom I had met once before. She told us that one or two days before
Mum left for NZ, Mum had told her that she was going on a short holiday.
Mum asked Carol to look after her plants, which Carol willingly agreed to
do. It is clear that Mum had no idea of what lay ahead. If she had
made plans to emigrate she would definitely have told us and her
neighbour. Sending Mum to NZ was a smoke screen for the real plan - a
conspiracy to sever all contact between my mother and me, my children and their
grandmother and my husband and his mother-in-law.
We abandoned our booked family holiday to Portugal and within the space
of about two weeks the four of us were on flights to Sydney, Australia. I
needed to see Mum and to establish exactly what the situation was.
We arrived in Sydney on 23 June 2009 and were met by a good friend, Dave Tennent. He
kindly drove us to our hotel and gave us invaluable information about transport
and other local information. We freshened up and went for a walk to find
some breakfast. Then we made our way to the train station for the train
to Woy Woy. After the 25 hour flight, the train engines on the 90 minute
train ride lulled us all and our heads were flinging this way and that as we
fought slumber. We very nearly missed our stop! The fifteen minute
walk to the hospital woke us up again.
Mum was absolutely overjoyed to see us, as were we to see her. The
love shone from her face. It was an emotional reunion.
With Mum at last, as soon as we could get to her after arriving in Australia
Please note that all
references to conversations throughout this blog are 100% factual and taken
from audio recordings made at the time the conversations took place. ..........Next: Australia 2009, Court Cases, Australia 2011