British man Daniel Moore injured in Manly

Daniel Moore in a relaxed moment.

The parents of a British man found with critical injuries at the side of a Sydney street have told how they are living through ‘the worst of nightmares’ as their son fights for life.

Daniel Moore, 21, from Marske, near Redcar, in Teeside, remained in a life-threatening condition with a fractured skull, brain injuries and internal bleeding as his tearful parents made an emotional appeal for a taxi driver to come forward.

His mother, Mrs Valerie Rutters, who has remarried, said she would happily change places with her son.

Daniel’s father Robin Moore and his mother sat at their son’s bedside for a short time after arriving in Australia from their homes in the north of England, then faced the tv cameras to appeal for the taxi driver who might be able to assist with police inquiries to come forward.

‘As Daniel’s parents, we need answers as to how and why this happened – and we also need to know who is responsible,’ said Mr Moore. Police have said a taxi driver, believed to be the last person to see Daniel, needs to come forward to answer police questions.

Directing his words to whoever might be able to explain his son’s injuries, Mr Moore said: ‘We ask that you look into your conscience and come forward and give the police any information that you may have, no matter how small and trivial it may seem.’ Sitting at his side, Mrs Rutters was in tears as she spoke of her son’s critical condition as he lies in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital’s intensive care unit.

‘He’s still very, very sick. It’s a parents worst nightmare…I would happily change places with him.’

The distraught couple left it to Detective Inspector Luke Arthurs to provide details of what they knew of Daniel’s movements last weekend, leading up to the mystery incident that had left him seriously injured at the roadside.

The inspector said Daniel had taken a taxi with a friend from Sydney’s central station to the seaside suburb of Manly, which is popular with British backpackers, in the early hours of last Sunday morning. The friend had got out of the taxi in Manly, but Inspector Arthurs said they were unsure if Daniel got out at the same time. He was later found with his injuries in another part of the suburb.

‘We just need to speak to the taxi driver and see what, if anything, he knows about this.’

Inspector Arthurs said it was not known whether Daniel’s injuries were the result of an assault or an accident. Police have also not ruled out the possibility the Briton was injured in a hit-and-run accident.

Daniel had been living and working in the Manly area for the past two years. A family friend in Redcar, Julie Jones, has told how he and her own son grew up together. ‘Our son went out to Australia and Daniel followed him, but Daniel decided to stay on longer,’ she told the BBC. ‘It is really upsetting to think this is going on. I just hope they found out what has happened.’

FOOTNOTE: A taxi driver has since come forward and given a statement to police. His vehicle is being forensically tested. Developments in the case are now awaited…

 

 

 

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Fugitive Lisa Marie Smith's image on a poster

This crazy sketch is on a pavement notice board in Newtown, Sydney

I am now convinced that British-Australian Interpol fugitive Lisa Marie Smith is shadowing me, trying to contact me – or someone who knows her is trying to get in touch. Either that or it is an astonishing coincidence that when I follow a particular route in my suburb, almost daily, I come across messages and posters containing her name.

The paths I tread are obscure – a back lane here, a walkway through a park there – but no matter where I go, the weird messages referring to her pop out of nowhere. The picture above has appeared in the past few days in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, near the railway station. It is sketched on an A-frame notice board, which is filled with crazed drawings and words that suggest the writer is hallucinating. Or is the apparent madness a cover for leaving a message for me…or for someone Lisa Marie knows…or someone Lisa Marie is trying to get in touch with?

It’s all very bizarre – but  how do you explain that these cryptic signs are posted in the very same places that I frequently walk in Sydney’s inner western suburbs and are not found anywhere else? Her name is written on pieces of paper stuffed into wire fencing or tacked to a tree – all of them freshly written on routes that I habitually take.

One message, contained on the same A-frame board that carries the strange drawing I’ve posted above, is aimed at – well, who? It asks: ‘Do you want to meet me?’ Now, is that Lisa asking someone – me? – if I want to meet her? Or is it someone Lisa knows asking if she wants to meet that person? The other messages I’ve seen posted around the Newtown and Stanmore suburbs are cryptic but all mention her name and most point out that she’s a fugitive  from Thailand after disappearing in 1996 while on bail after being charged with serious drug offences.

When she fled from Thailand in August 1996, the-then 20-year-old daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong-based insurance company executive is believed to have used a British replacement passport – she claimed to have lost the first in the weeks before her arrest – to flee to Greece.

There, she obtained yet another British passport and vanished – ending up among the top 10 on Interpol’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. An international police search, involving crack investigators in Britain and Australia, failed to find any clues as to Lisa Marie’s whereabouts and her father, who had posted bail for her in Thailand, insisted he had no idea where she was.

So, is she now in Australia, treading the paths that I tread? Are the messages aimed at me – because I’ve written about her extensively in the past? Or have they been put up by someone trying to get in touch with her? The mystery endures. But if Lisa Marie reads this, I’d be happy to hear from her. No tricks, no traps. I’m easily found.

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Fugitive Lisa Marie Smith sign

Curious sign on a tree in Sydney suggests British-Australian drug fugitive Lisa Marie Smith is living in the city.

Fifteen years after Briton Lisa Marie Smith vanished from Bangkok while on bail accused of serious drug trafficking charges, mysterious clues have begun to emerge suggesting she is living in Sydney. And if curious cryptic messages posted on trees and walls are to be believed, Miss Smith, a former star pupil at Eastleigh College, near Southampton, is now living in my neighbourhood – and perhaps in my street. When she fled from Thailand in February 1996, the-then 20-year-old daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong-based insurance company executive, is believed to have used a second passsport – she held both British and Australian documents – to flee to Greece. There, she obtained a new British passport and vanished – ending up among the top 10 on Interpol’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. An international police search, involving crack investigators in Britain and Australia, failed to find any clues as to Miss Smith’s whereabouts and her father, who had posted bail for her in Thailand, insisted he had no idea where she was. But small, fascinating signs written on pieces of plaster and wood, have been popping up around the inner-west suburbs of Sydney suggesting that Miss Smith is living in the area – and may have even scrawled one of them herself.

I had written extensively about Miss Smith when she fled Thailand in August 1996 after being the first foreigner to be given bail on serious drug charges after her millionaire father, Terry Smith, had paid around £30,000 to secure her temporary freedom to await future court appearances. It had been claimed by police that she was carrying opium when she was first arrested as she tried to fly out of Bangkok – a charge that can result in the death penalty – but that was reduced to hashish and amphetamines after her parents arrived in the country with a top lawyer.

Miss Smith spent six months in Lard Yao Prison – nicknamed the Bangkok Hilton – before being granted bail and fleeing the country. She obtained a new British passport in Greece and vanished, defying all police efforts to find her. But at the end of my street, less than 30 yards from the entrance to the local railway station, an intriguing sign has been attached to a tree.

Written on a small block of white-painted wood, the message reads:  ‘Lisa Marie Smith. I did it for you, Damien. Look at me. Omen.’

Just two days earlier, totally by chance, I had noticed another small sign, written on a piece of plaster that had been painted red, and stuck on the side of a house. It read: ‘Lisa Marie Smith. Bangkok Hilton Fugitive 1996’.

British police, who admit the runaway has ‘dropped off our radar’, have said she may have changed her name to McGuigan.  Could the reference to ‘Damien’ on the block of wood in my street refer to an Irishman she knows…an Irishman called McGuigan? Further checks on the internet reveal that there are other references to Lisa Marie Smith, some suggesting that she should go to jail and that Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, serving 20 years in Bali, should go free.

One sign echos the British police belief that she now has an Irish surname. Stuck to a wall in the Sydney suburb of Newtown – one rail stop from my home – it blares out the name of Lisa Marie Smith, points out that she is a fugitive from the ‘Bangkok Hilton’, and adds: ‘New Identity – McGuigan? Travels Eire 2 Australia as Though Invisible.’

The story Miss Smith told investigators immediately after her arrest resulted in her being accused of lying. She said she had befriended a Pakistani man who on hearing she was short of money, agreed to pay her to take a rucksack to Tokyo ‘for a friend’. When she reached Bangkok airport with the rucksack – and she insisted she did not know it contained drugs – police who had been tipped off were waiting for her.

It is believed she was set up as a distraction, to divert the attention of police away from a bigger smuggling operation that was being worked at the same time. Perhaps if Miss Smith and I should meet in my street, she’ll tell me more. And the coffee invitation stands.

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Kiesha Abrahams, who is missing in Sydney

Kiesha Abrahams - Where is she? Somebody knows....

It has been compared to the baffling case of missing British girl Madeleine McCann, who, as you’ll all recall, disappeared from her bedroom while her parents were on holiday with friends in Portugal three years ago.

Now, on the other side of the world, in Sydney, another little girl has vanished from her bedroom in equally mysterious circumstances.
I fear for Kiesha Abrahams. Her mother, Kristi Abrahams, says she put her to bed in pink pyjamas at the flat she shared with her partner Robert Smith last Saturday – and in the morning she was gone. Ms Abrahams said there was no sign of a break-in and there was immediate speculation that Kiesha had either let herself out or had been abducted.
But in the days that have followed, disturbing questions have arisen. If Kiesha had let herself out and was wandering the suburban streets, surely it would not have been long before someone found her and called the police? And if she had been abducted…how did the kidnapper gain such easy access to the flat and why take that particular little girl?
While these questions await answers worrying facts continue to emerge. For a start, no-one, aside from the claims of her mother and her partner, has been able to say they had seen Kiesha for three weeks before her disappearance. She had not been to school since her brother, Levi, was born three and a half weeks ago,and in fact had only attended her class for five days in the whole of this year.
Now Sydney’s Daily Telegraph has reported that it has learned from police sources that, as a toddler, Kiesha was admitted to hospital with a bite wound inflicted by an adult. And there are claims that the child and her mother were ‘known’ to the child welfare service.
Ms Abrahams, with Mr Smith at her side, appeared before tv cameras on Tuesday begging for information about her missing daughter. But her words were almost indecipherable amid her howls and because she held a tissue to her mouth. She kept her head down and her eyes were shielded by dark glasses, leading to members of the public writing to newspapers saying that in their opinion it was all an act.
Her partner Mr Smith said the past few days had been hell. ‘I can’t describe what it’s like in my shoes – you can’t imagine the last few days. It gets harder by the minute,’ he said.
A massive search of the neighbourhood, including police and volunteers searching back gardens, storm drains and bushland, has failed to turn up any clues as to the whereabouts of Kiesha.
Will this turn out to be another Madeleine McCann case – a little girl who vanished never to be seen again? Time will tell, but I suspect we may have an answer to what happened to Keisha in the very near future.
Camera Club Silhouette - with iPhone

A Camera Club captured against the setting sun - with an iPhone

Wherever I go, I always try to carry a small camera with me for that unexpected scene that will make a picture.

Just recently, while doing my dog-walking duty in a Sydney park at sunset I realised I’d left my camera behind. And then, inevitably, I came across a whimsical scene that had me reaching for the camera that wasn’t there! Curiously, it was a camera club, whose members had gathered on a hill to photograph the city as it began to switch on its evening lights. They were silhouetted against the setting sun, like figures in an Arthur Rackham fairy story illustration.

Thankfully I had my iPhone but thought ‘this is really going to put it to the test’. Extreme light striking the lens and, unlike the camera club, no tripod to assist stability. However, taking a ‘risky’ photo was better than taking no picture at all.

I was surprised by the result. What do you think?

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