Grazier says: "I
lied about our baby"
Sydney, Tuesday '
BEN CHARLES HACKNEY, grazier, of
Wonalabee, near Bathurst, admitted in the Equity Court today that he had lied to his wife when he told her their baby had been adopted.
Jill Mary Hackney, 24, is seeking custody of the child, born about seven
months after her mar- riage to Hackney.
Hackney has had charge of the child, Bettina Grace, now 16 months old, ever since her birth, and has had the child boarding with a couple at Lane Cove.
Mrs. Hackney said in evi- dence she signed adoption papers at her husband's dic- tation, because he had said she could not come home with the child.
Until November last year, when the baby was about 11 months old, she believed strangers had adopted the child, as her husband told her, she said.
She had refused to see the baby while she was in hos- pital, after its birth, because she had signed the adoption papers and knew she could
Mrs. Jill Hackney
Mr. Ben Hackney
never give the baby up if she ever saw her.
Beaufort Andrew Brown, Mrs. Hackney's father, said in evidence he had asked Hackney to let him and his wife bring up the baby.
Hackney in evidence said he was very upset and wor- ried by his wife's attitude to the baby, and took it from the hospital to Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox, at Lane Cove, after his wife had left the hos- pital.
He said they were still caring for the child, but he would arrange for someone to look after her in his home, if he still had custody of her after the Court decision.
He said his wife lived with him during February and March after the baby was born.
During that time she had left him once after an argu- ment about the radio during Sir Winston Churchill's broadcast on the death of King George VI.
Hackney said he was the sole survivor of a wholesale massacre when he was with the 8th Division in Malaya, had feigned death when Japanese soldiers pricked him with bayonets, and had then lived for 35 days in the jungle, but had not had any nerve trouble after his war experiences.
Visit to U.K.
He said the first trouble between him and his wife arose when she wrote to him from England, where she had gone with her parents, saying she wanted either an abortion or an adoption arrangement.
Mr. Shand, Q.C. (for Mrs. Hackney) : Did you love your wife when you married her? -Enough to make a good marriage.
Hackney told Mr. Shand he had asked his wife to remain in England to have the baby, because he thought it would be the best thing for the child.
He said that was so that people would not know the child had not been conceived in wedlock.
He said he would have gone to England to be with his wife, but her parents would not allow her to stay
"Act of cad"
Hackney said he had lied to his wife and led her to believe the baby had been adopted for the child's sake, because his wife had not shown any interest in it, or
even seen it.
He said he had never doubted that he was the child's father, but on the trip home from the hospital, when he was upset, he had said to his wife: "How do I know the child is mine?"
To Mr. Shand, Q.C, for Mrs. Hackney, Hackney ad- mitted that was "the act of a cad," and that he had not withdrawn the remark or apologised for it.
The hearing was ad-
journed until tomorrow.