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Spennymoor woman admits harassment of family of missing Katrice Lee
THEN AND NOW: Katrice Lee the age she went missing, and an age-progressed image of how Katrice could look now, aged 33
THE father of a girl who vanished more than 30 years ago today (Wednesday, February 27) spoke of his family’s distress at being harassed by a woman claiming to be her.
Richard Lee, whose daughter Katrice went missing in November 1981, said Donna Louise Wright had added to the pain of a “wound that will never heal.”
Wright, of Hillside Court, Spennymoor, County Durham, admitted harassing Katrice’s mother, Sharon, and sister, Natasha.
The 33-year-old was deemed unfit to attend three previous court hearings and appeared by video link at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court due to her mental health problems.
Two-year-old Katrice disappeared while shopping with her mother on a British army base in Paderborn, Germany, where Mr Lee was serving with 15th/19th The Kings Royal Hussars.
Despite international appeals she has never been found and, last year, the British Military Police reopened the investigation.
Wright contacted Natasha, 39, on the social networking website Facebook claiming to be Katrice.
The family arranged for the police to carry out a DNA test. When that proved false, Wright became abusive.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Lee, from Belle Vue, Hartlepool, said: “We want a conclusion because we have put up with this since September 2011 and my family has gone through hell.
“She wanted her 15 minutes of fame on the tragedy of my family.
“To listen to Natasha to crying on the phone because of the stories this woman has created about my family has been truly awful."
He said Wright sent numerous emails and Facebook postings to Katrice's mother and sister, who now live in Hampshire, between December, 2011 and November last year.
However, she pleaded guilty on the basis that the offences took place in August and September.
District Judge Martin Walker said the offence was so serious the time scale would not make a difference to sentence.
Jane Scott, mitigating, said Wright was vulnerable and would be unable to cope with the pressures of attending court in person.
District Judge Walker allowed her to again appear via video linkk for sentence on March 19.
Mr Lee, who has not given up hope his daughter is alive and well, said he was “infuriated” by the decision.
“I want to look her in the eye and ask her why she has done this to my family,” he added.