Missing Katrice Lee's family’s anger as 'impersonator' court case delayed
The family of Katrice Lee were left ‘fuming’ after a court case for a woman accused of impersonating their missing loved one was adjourned.
Katrice’s father Richie Lee, 69, had travelled over 150 miles from Hartlepool to Birkenhead and stayed in a hotel overnight to attend the case of 40-year-old Heidi Robinson.
Katrice’s sister Natasha Walker had travelled even further from Portsmouth.
Robinson is accused of impersonating Katrice to Natasha on social media and the case had been listed to take place at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, August 6, for several weeks.
But it was adjourned for six weeks until September 17 after the court was told Robinson, from East Way in Moreton, was unable to attend.
She is charged with 'sending by public communication network an offensive/indecent/obscene/menacing message/matter’.
Katrice disappeared on her second birthday in November 1981 from a supermarket near a British Army barracks in Germany where Richie was stationed at the time.
Speaking to the Mail while travelling back to Hartlepool, he said: “We as a family are absolutely fuming. Before we even went into court the solicitor spoke to Natasha and said apparently she (Robinson) was too ill to attend.
“Sadly, we have gained nothing but I feel we could have been informed and had this journey stopped because obviously it is a long way.”
Richie said the cost of the journey was immaterial as he was there to support Natasha who had never been to a court before.
He added: “As far as we were aware we were hoping that the case would be concluded.
“Instead we got an apology off the judge and informed at this late stage the case has to be adjourned.
“What nobody has taken into account is the mental health issues to Natasha.”
Richie fears the court case could divert attention from raising awareness about Katrice and other missing persons.
“Because of an individual it could well stop the real Katrice from coming forward and that’s what frightens me,” he added.
But he said: “We are not going anywhere,” adding “we want justice for Katrice”.
In June, Richie highlighted Katrice’s case to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on a visit to Hartlepool.