Police find boy hiding with sectin forest

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The Independent Online

Police found the runaway schoolboy Bobby Kelly yesterday at a rural hideaway where he had been living in a tent with members of a religious sect he disappeared with more than a month ago.

Police found the runaway schoolboy Bobby Kelly yesterday at a rural hideaway where he had been living in a tent with members of a religious sect he disappeared with more than a month ago.

The 16-year-old was found hiding in a forest in Mytchett, Surrey, by officers from the police kidnap and specialist investigations unit. Two Jesus Christians sect members, Nigel David and Andrew Eagles, were arrested at the scene.

The teenager was made a ward of court on 12 July after his grandmother, Ruth Kelly, with whom he had been living, became concerned.

The judge who made the order, Mr Justice Sumner, said yesterday in the High Court in London: "Bobby's future will now be decided by the court. The court will pay close attention to what it is that Bobby has to say."

On Wednesday two other members of the group, Susan and Roland Gianstefani, were arrested in the West End of London and charged with contempt of court after they refused to reveal where Bobby was staying. A personal plea by the teenager helped the Gianstefanis to avoid a six-week custodial sentence when they appeared in the High Court yesterday. They were later released after being given suspended sentences.

Apologising to the court for refusing to reveal the boy's whereabouts, Mr Gianstefani said: "I am very, very sorry for not believing the court's intention to act in the best interests of Bobby. I was unfortunately too fearful, thinking he would be subject to forceful means to detract him from his faith."

Mrs Kelly was advised by David Whitehouse, a pastor at St Peter's Church in Romford where the Kellys live. The pastor knew Bobby through his long-standing Christian beliefs.

Mr Whitehouse is a friend of Graham Baldwin, of Catalyst, a charity that counsels people who have left cults. They put the pastor in contact with solicitors Kirby & Co of Wimbledon, who began moves to have Bobby made a ward of court.

David McKay, 55, the leader of the Jesus Christians sect, is worried that counselling by Catalyst will harm Bobby. His concern is based on a process known as "deprogramming", a method of ridding former cult members of indoctrinated beliefs. Mr McKay, speaking from the group's base in Australia, said: "We don't legally represent him, the grandmother does and she's not representing what he actually wants. She's actually working with the organisation that wants to deprogramme him. Now we have to figure out how best to keep him from getting into their custody in any way that can be found."

Mr Baldwin said: "Deprogrammers don't exist now, they haven't for years. The chances of me meeting Bobby are remote. He's a ward of court and it is up to them who he sees. I've no reason to believe I could help because Bobby has been turned so much against me."

The four members of the sect that are in Britain had beenevading the police in a white Leyland van. When this was publicised they bought another van but its engine stopped on the way out of the dealers.

Mr McKay said: "The biggest problem was that they weren't mobile until they got the vehicle going. They couldn't really move anywhere and they were just sitting ducks."

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