Farnell – David John - Photo3




Baby Gammy: Biological father David Farnell tries to access donations raised for child’s medical costs

By Irena Ceranic

Updated about 2 hours ago

The biological father of Gammy, the baby at the centre of a surrogacy dispute last year, is trying to access donations raised for the child’s medical costs, a charity says.

The case made international headlines last year after convicted sex offender David Farnell and his wife Wendy Li abandoned their son in Thailand because he has Down syndrome and took only his twin sister back to Australia.

Gammy lives with his Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, who depends on the money donated to charity to cover his medical costs.

The founder of the Hands Across The Water foundation, Peter Baines, told the ABC that Mr Farnell was now trying to access the money raised.

“It’s perplexing. I don’t understand it on any level,” Mr Baines said.

“The funds were donated by everyone because of the alleged actions of Mr Farnell, and to think he believes he has some right of claim over it … I find it perplexing.”

Mr Baines said more than 6,000 people had donated around $235,000 to the foundation since details of the Gammy case were made public.

He said he was not certain how much of the money Mr Farnell was seeking.

“The money was donated through the goodwill of people from not just Australia, but across the world, for the immediate care and for the long-term care of Gammy,” Mr Baines said.

“We’ve taken all steps we can as a charity to ensure that 100 per cent of those funds that we donated go directly to Gammy now and for the future.”.

Speaking to the ABC, Ms Chanbua asked if Mr Farnell had “gone insane to think like this”.

“He does not deserve or have any rights to the fund as he abandoned Gammy in the first place,” she said.

“People donated money for Gammy and not for anyone else. Even though I am Gammy’s mother, I don’t have any right to take it.

“I want to ask him: ‘Who do you think you are? What made you think you have the right to take it?'”

So far the money donated has been used to buy a home for Gammy’s impoverished family and monthly payments are made to his mother for his ongoing medical and welfare needs.

Mr Baines said it was estimated the remaining funds would cover Gammy’s expenses for another five or six years.

“I certainly don’t think [the funds] were donated by anyone thinking that Mr Farnell would at some point have access to them, and we’ll do all we can to prevent that,” he said.



Twin of baby Gammy to remain with family under strict conditions

Updated yesterday at 8:51pmFri 7 Nov 2014, 8:51pm

The family at the centre of an international surrogacy scandal will retain custody of their infant daughter, subject to strict court conditions.

The Gammy case made international headlines earlier this year, after a Thai surrogate mother accused convicted sex offender David John Farnell and his wife, Wendy Li, of abandoning their son, who suffers from Down Syndrome, and taking only his twin sister.

The Department for Child Protection began proceedings in the Family Court after it was revealed Mr Farnell, 56, had been convicted of child sex offences in the 1990s.

Mr Farnell was sentenced to three years’ jail in 1997 for sexually molesting two girls under the age of 13.

Just months later, while still imprisoned, he was charged again – this time with six counts of indecent dealings with a child under the age of 13.

Those offences were said to have occurred over a 10-month period in the mid-1990s.

WA Child Protection Minister Helen Morton said on Friday orders had been granted by the court that provided for the baby girl’s safety, including;

  • the appointment of an independent children’s lawyer;
  • the development of a “robust” safety plan; and
  • active monitoring by the department.

“The members of the safety network are all well aware of the issues involved, their role and responsibility in the child’s safety and wellbeing, and have formally agreed to report and future concerns to the department,” Ms Morton said in a statement.

“I am satisfied that the rigorous safety planning and interim orders that have been granted by the Family Court WA will provide for this child’s safety.”

Ms Morton said her department conducted a comprehensive safety assessment with the cooperation of Mr Farnell and his wife.

She said she had been granted approval by the chief judge to release details of the baby girl’s safety plan.

The media is usually banned from identifying parties involved in Family Court proceedings.


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  1. Jan Purcell says:

    they should never ever let these paedophiles out, they should be put away forever, our laws are not strict enough better still bring back capital punishment.,

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