Payout for The Family sect victims

The Herald-Sun, Australia/August 16, 2009

The Family cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne has paid six-figure sums to two former "followers" who sued her for alleged damage done to them in their childhoods.

Hamilton-Byrne settled the cases for payouts of an estimated $250,000 each.

In the first case, Hamilton-Byrne's granddaughter, Rebecca Cook-Hamilton, sued her in 2007, alleging she had developed psychiatric and psychological illnesses.

She alleged the injuries were caused by the "cruel and inhumane treatment" she had received from Hamilton-Byrne and her servants, including beatings, being locked in a freezing shed overnight and being forced to take tranquilisers.

Ms Cook-Hamilton also alleged her grandmother failed to provide adequate food.

In the second case, cult survivor Anouree Crawford brought a case alleging she was beaten, starved and drugged.

Hamilton-Byrne is also being sued by a former cult member over an aborted property transaction in the late 1990s.

In a writ filed in the Supreme Court, Cynthia Chan alleges she paid Hamilton-Byrne $352,115 to buy a property in Olinda, but that she never transferred.

The writ also alleges Ms Chan paid Hamilton-Byrne $70,400 for another property, which was also never transferred to her.

Hamilton-Byrne said she had no recollection of the matter.

In the 1980s, police estimated Hamilton-Byrne's wealth at more than $50 million.

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