Police find sect boy at woodland camp

Daily Telegraph/ July 28, 2000
By Sally Pook

A TEENAGER who vanished a month ago with a religious sect was found yesterday with two of its members in a tent in Hampshire. Hours after his discovery, Bobby Kelly, 16, pleaded for two other members of the Jesus Christians who refused to tell the High Court where he was to be spared a jail sentence.

Susan and Roland Gianstefani, who met Bobby while handing out leaflets in Romford, Essex, on the day he disappeared, were detained two days ago and found guilty of contempt of court. Although they knew the teenager was at a campsite near Farnborough they kept the information secret for fear that he would be subjected to "forceful means" to "deprogramme" his religious beliefs.

It is understood that up to six Metropolitan Police officers arrived at the campsite before going to woodland 200 yards away where Bobby was found in a tent with sect members. The officers took him to the court where he was handed over to the Official Solicitor.

Minutes before the Gianstefanis were due to be sentenced, Bobby, who was kept in a separate room, sent a note through the representative of the Official Solicitor. It said: "I hope they don't get into trouble. They were willing to go to prison for me." Mr Justice Sumner said the pair would be jailed for six weeks for contempt but he was suspending the sentence because Bobby had been found, and because they had eventually revealed his whereabouts. Bobby was made a ward of court after disappearing.

The threesome had earlier spent 10 days staying on an official camp site at the Basingstoke Canal Visitors' Centre. The man who booked in said he was Reinhardt Zenner.

Susie Porter, who runs the centre, said they had moved out on Tuesday just before police telephoned. She said: "I found out that they had moved into woodland. Then plainclothes police turned up and went into the trees." The men found with Bobby were arrested but later released. Dave McKay, head of the Jesus Christians, last night said he was disappointed that Bobby had not been able to make up his own mind about whether to stay or go.

The group has denied that Bobby was brainwashed, saying he left home voluntarily.

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