Tug-of-war over girls sparks probe

Four sisters, pictured with their mother, are currently at the centre of a complicated child custody dispute. The image has been distorted for legal reasons.
Four sisters, pictured with their mother, are currently at the centre of a complicated child custody dispute. The image has been distorted for legal reasons.

THE international tug-of-war over four Coast sisters has reportedly taken a turn, with Australian Federal Police investigating claims a family member misappropriated money donated to a fighting fund.

Media reports yesterday said supporters of the girls' Italian father had made the allegations against a relative of the girls' mother and Justice Peter Murphy had ordered a police investigation.

The girls - 15, 13, 10 and nine - have spent their first weekend alone with their Italian father since their mother brought them back to Australia in 2010.

The Family Court recently ordered the girls be taken out of foster care to live with their mother until their case was heard next month.

Both sides have been attacking each other on Facebook, leading to a relative of the girls taking three intervention orders against supporters of the father, alleging their comments amounted to stalking and harassment.

Meanwhile, in an affidavit lodged with the Family Court, the Department of Communities tendered emails between the mother and a supporter, which refer to a relative taking money donated to a fighting fund set up to help the girls.

While Federal Police are investigating that allegation, the girls' father has also filed a complaint with Qld Police, accusing the girls' Australian great-grandmother of child stealing after she disappeared with the girls for several days.

The father told the Daily last week the lengthy court battle was costing him dearly.

"I've lost my money, maybe my car, maybe my home and maybe my job" the 35-year-old said.

Topics:  australian federal police child custody crime family court

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