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  • By Nick Papps
  • The Herald Sun
  • 23/03/2002 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 30 articles in 2002 )
Back at last: Andrew Knight gets a welcome home kiss from mum Michelle.
Be Grateful Today!
Lost son back home with mum

"MY baby's back -- I've got him back."

With those words, a 10-week nightmare ended yesterday for Ashburton mum Michelle Knight as she hugged her 12-year-old son Andrew.

Andrew disappeared from a suburban pool on January 11, sparking a heartbreaking search and pleas for his return.

"I can't stop hugging and kissing him," Ms Knight said yesterday as they were reunited in the family home.

"Words can't describe it -- my baby's back.

"A mother or parent's worst nightmare is over."

The ordeal ended late this week when Andrew was dropped off by an unknown person at the Royal Children's Hospital.

It is believed he had been in the care of men's groups.

Andrew's return follows a Herald Sun investigation that has revealed:

AN illegal team of bounty hunters is being set up to recover children taken by disgruntled parents.

A NETWORK of men's groups is operating safe houses for parents and children defying Family Court orders.

FAMILY court lawyers are being harassed by a vigilante group known as the Black Shirts.
As the two held each other in the family lounge room, Andrew told his mum, "I'm going to hold your hand everywhere."

Andrew Knight has not spoken about how he spent the past 10 weeks but did say "it was nice to see mum".

"I was so stressed," he said. "The important thing is I'm home now."

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Child Abductions-Andrew Knight

While Andrew was missing, the Herald Sun was contacted by a man linked to several men's rights groups and offered an interview with Andrew.

The man said "Andrew is OK" and said he could arrange a meeting. But after talking to his lawyer the man cancelled the meeting.

Police suspect Andrew was moved around Melbourne by a network backed by men's groups who supplied him with food and clothing.

Yesterday the marshal of the Family Court of Australia said he was aware of men's groups hiding children.

"They do it in an effort to avoid complying with court orders," marshal Colin Rowley said. "In Melbourne they're especially active and we have groups in every state and territory."

St Kilda Family Court solicitor Sue Macgregor also said men's groups were operating an underground network to hide children.

"They intimidate people and frighten people and they distribute incorrect information -- they actively encourage vulnerable people to disobey family court rulings," she said.

"There's about 20 to 30 hardcore members."

Men's groups are amassing files on judges and Family Court lawyers. They also rate judges on websites and admit breaking the law.

The Herald Sun investigation into the Family Court has also revealed a child support organisation is to establish a team of bounty hunters to steal back children abducted by non-custodial parents.

The Hug-Ur-Kids organisation said it was frustrated by police efforts to recover children subject to court orders and would recover children itself.

Founder of the organisation Geoff Day said a retired United States special forces soldier was due to arrive in Australia within days to begin training the recovery unit.

He said former US Ranger Gus Zamora would train a group of up to 20 men to recover children across Australia.

Mr Rowley has condemned the plan for bounty hunters, saying it would be illegal.

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