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Saturday 20 September 2014

Taxpayer pays €4,000 to fly Samantha back to Australia

Published 08/11/2013 | 16:11

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Superintendent David Taylor of the Garda Press Office and Orla Ryan, Guardian Ad Litem of the girl with a Garda hand out picture of the Australian woman
Pastor Brad Blacker

THE ‘Mystery GPO’ woman Samantha Azzopardi is on her way back to her native Australia with two gardai after leaving on a flight from Dublin Airport yesterday evening.

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Ms Azzopardi was not deported and gardai made the decision not to charge her with wasting police time.

Earlier the 25-year-old had indicated she wanted to return to her homeland and she is being accompanied by two garda officers on the lengthy journey. Sources say she will be reunited with her family in Australia when her flight lands later tonight.

It is believed the State has paid out €4,000 to transport Samantha and the two accompanying her to Australia.

The three flew by Ryanair to Manchester and on to Abu Dhabi with Emirates before making the journey to Sydney.

It brings an end to a bizarre case that started when she was found wandering outside the GPO on O’Connell Street leading to detectives to suspect that she was a child victim of human trafficking.

It has now emerged that she had up to 40 different aliases.

A garda statement said:  “In consultation with all of the relevant authorities, An Garda Siochana have facilitated Ms Samantha Azzopardi’s request for repatriation with a view to reuniting her with her family and the authorities in Australia.”

Earlier yesterday, the High Court heard that she was free to leave the care of the HSE after a psychiatric evaluation found there was no basis to commit her.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who lifted an HSE care order she was being held under, said everyone initially believed they were dealing with a minor who could have been a victim of trafficking. He said the initiative taken by gardai and results of publishing of the photograph came as a shock and surprise to everybody.

The High Court in Dublin heard that psychiatrist Brendan Kelly found she is not suffering from a disorder under the Mental Health Act in Ireland.

HSE lawyer Tim O’Leary said: “She has a particular condition. That condition is specified and makes her vulnerable.”

The court was told she would be at risk if she was released from care.

Earlier, evidence was given that the Australian arrived in Ireland three weeks before being found by police and had been staying in Tipperary with a relative until the day she was found wandering in Dublin.

By Ken Foy, Crime Correspondent

kfoy@herald.ie

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