Australian father Harry Speath continues global search for children in Christchurch
An Australian father searching for his children has touched down in Christchurch.
Harry Speath arrived at Christchurch Airport on Friday afternoon to start the South Island leg of his global hunt, more than two years after his children disappeared with their mother.
"I've chased my former wife around the world, it's pretty traumatic really."
Speath said he knew the trip was unlikely to yield results, but he wanted to exhaust every option. An active online campaign ran dry, so he took to the streets.
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"If you don't really know what's happening at all, you don't know where your children are, whether they're going to school, there's no indications of anything . . . their health, that their needs are being looked after."
The 60-year-old's first stop was the police station to "make sure they knew about" the children. Then he would scour the city.
Speath and child recovery expert Col Chapman – who recently tracked down 6-year-old Que Langdon in Australia after she sailed there with her father – suspect the children's mother, Jane Adare, was most likely living in Christchurch or a similar Anglo-town. He said Adare had friends from New Zealand. He believed she had Christchurch connections.
Speath last saw his children, Thomas Michael Speath, then 5, and Serena Lucia Speath, then 6, in December, 2014.
When their mother picked them up from his home, as per their custody agreement, the children seemed particularly upset to leave.
"When it came pick up time, my ex-wife arrived, rang the doorbell, and Thomas broke down. He was absolutely howling and I didn't understand why. He wouldn't let go of me, he was hanging on for grim death," Speath said.
Three days later, Speath called Adare to arrange the next meeting. She did not answer.
"I knew within a couple of days when the phone calls stopped, something wasn't right."
Australian police confirmed they wanted to "recover" the children, although the Australian Family Court said the children were most likely living in southeast Queensland.
Speath travelled to London, England and Brazil during his search.
Speath still sends birthday cards for his children to his ex-wife's parents' home.
He put stickers of Micky Mouse on a cars themed card for Thomas, and gemstones and sparkles on a princess card for Serena. The message was the same for both children: 'daddy loves you'.
"At some point in time, we'll meet up again."