Bill Crocaris reads a statement on behalf of his wife, Jaqueline Pascarl-Gillespie, and her daughter Shahirah.
Photo: Craig Abraham
By Ben Doherty
April 5, 2006 - 4:37PM
A Melbourne woman who has been reunited with her kidnapped daughter has asked that the media respect their privacy.
Jacqueline Pascarl has met with her daughter Shahirah, 20, who flew into Melbourne over the weekend.
The pair are thought to have spent the morning at Ms Pascarl's Hawthorn home.
Ms Pascarl husband Bill Crocaris read out a statement on behalf of his wife and her daughter to reporters outside their home at 11:20am.
Mr Crocaris refused to answer any questions.
"Jacqueline and her daughter, Shahirah, would like to express their appreciation for your good wishes and support," he said.
"They wish you to know that they are very, very happy, in fact, joyful.
"This is, however, a very private and sensitive time for the family and they ask that you understand and respect the need for restraint and privacy.
"Once again. there will be no further comments or questions at this time."
Her ex-husband, Malaysian Prince Raja Bahrin, who snatched Shahirah and her brother Iddin from their mother on a 1992 access visit and smuggled them out of the country, confirmed his daughter's visit in an interview from Malaysia.
"It's only natural that she wants to visit her mother,'' he was quoted as saying. "She is a big girl now, going to be 21,'' he reportedly said.
"She wants to be with her mother, so what is there for me to say?''
Raja Bahrin said the former couple's son Iddin, now 23, had not yet expressed an interest in visiting his mother.
"Let's take one thing at a time. It's up to the kids so let things take their course. I don't think we should speculate about the future,'' he was quoted as saying.
Ms Pascarl met the Prince at Melbourne University, where he was studying architecture, in the late 70s and they were married in 1980.
Their two children were born in Malaysia. After Shahirah was born, the Prince took a second wife under Islamic law.
Ms Pascarl filed for divorce in the Family Court in 1985, and received custody of the children.
After Raja Bahrin spirited the children out of Australia by boat, the Australian Government and Federal Police intervened in what became one of the highest profile custody battles in Australian history.
The Keating Government sought the extradition of Raja Bahrin for taking the children in violation of a Family Court order.
The Prince later tried to have Ms Pascarl extradited for taking the children out of Malaysia in 1985.
Ms Pascarl, a former ballet dancer, wrote a book about her experiences, Once I Was a Princess, which was published in 1995.
In the book she portrays her ex-husband as a cruel and sexually violent man, who once had her pet goat slaughtered in front of her and forced her to eat the stewed flesh.
theage.com.au, with AAP