Missing Boy - We'll Go To Court, Says Cult Chief

News Wire, July 17, 2000

The leader of a religious cult thought to be hiding a teenage boy says that he plans to appeal against the decision to make the 16-year-old a ward of court.

But David Mackay, leader of the Jesus Christians, added that he was willing to return teenager Bobby Kelly in exchange for continued access to the 16-year-old.

Mr Mackay - who on Saturday insisted that Bobby was not with the cult - made his latest offer after it emerged that a newspaper had received e-mail messages purporting to be from Bobby and saying he had "never been happier" since joining the cult.

Mr Mackay said: "We expect that Bobby will be handed over to the authorities shortly - we just feel that we should be given the chance to get some legal advice. If there is some way we can appeal against that court order then we will do.

"We feel that the ideal thing for a 16-year-old kid, who under any other circumstances would be allowed to make his own decisions, is that he should be able to have whoever he wants as friends.

"He should be allowed to live with his grandmother but he should be allowed to have visitors."

Last night a person claiming to be Bobby was in contact with the Mail on Sunday newspaper via an e-mail - and insisted that he was not being held against his will.

The message-sender told the newspaper he loved and missed both Bobby's mother and grandmother, Ruth Kelly, his legal guardian with whom he lives.

Bobby was made a ward of court by the High Court earlier this week in a bid to find him when he left home just hours after encountering members of the cult in Romford, Essex.

Mr Mackay said he was "amazed" to hear that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of two people seen with Bobby in Romford. A Metropolitan Police spokesman refused to comment on the claim.

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