Father accuses found backpacker of theft

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The Independent Online

When 19-year old Jamie Neale was found alive after having been missing for 12 days in Australia's Blue Mountains, pictures of the beaming, bearded face of his relieved father appeared around the world.

But just a couple of weeks on, Richard Cass and the son he had abandoned hope of ever seeing again are embroiled in a bitter argument that is tearing their family apart. The cause: money.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Cass accused his son of stealing from him, after his son refused to share a £50,000 fee the two were paid for an appearance on Australian news and current affairs programme 60 Minutes. He said: "I feel I have been robbed by my own son. I was so glad when he was found but it's gone from being such a feelgood thing to being murderously nasty. The son I found isn't the son I went out to look for."

Mr Cass had said that his son would not profit from his story, and that any money he was paid would be donated to the search and rescue services and to Katoomba Hospital, where he was taken to recover. Yesterday, Mr Cass said this had annoyed his son, but added that: "I was not speaking for him. It's up to him what he does. I was speaking about me."



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