Amy Maas

Amy Maas is a news reporter with the Herald on Sunday.

Diplomat case: A father's ire

Daughter’s nightmares, family being left in dark anger father

Warren Billingsley is was furious with the Govt for leaving the family in the dark over the diplomat's return.
Warren Billingsley is was furious with the Govt for leaving the family in the dark over the diplomat's return.

The woman at the centre of the Malaysian diplomatic scandal has been having nightmares and screaming out at night, says her father.

Warren Billingsley told the Herald on Sunday yesterday that he was furious with the Government for leaving the family in the dark over the defence attache's return.

Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail was charged with burglary and assault with intent to rape Tania Billingsley, 22, after allegedly following her and breaking into her home on May 9. He invoked diplomatic immunity and fled to Malaysia, but is expected to return to stand trial.

Prime Minister John Key last week said it was expected his return would take months, but the Billingsley family has not been contacted by Government officials.

"It's more than disappointing. It's not good enough. I'm a bit disheartened by everything that's happened really," Warren Billingsley said.

"I don't know what to think really ... I sort of admire the Malaysian Government for the way they sort of stood up and were going to make him come back but our own Government has let us down."

He added police had been "really good" to his daughter and given her support, but the Government had brushed it off.

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said police were in regular contact with the Billingsleys and were keeping them updated on developments.

"MFat chief executive John Allen has also provided his contact details to Tania Billingsley should she, her family, or a representative wish to contact him," the spokesman said.

"The return process is now a legal matter and the minister cannot comment further."

Billingsley said his daughter had gone to his home after appearing on the 3rd Degree TV show where she revealed her identity and spoke about the Government's handling of the case. She had since returned to Wellington but had moved out of the home where she was allegedly attacked.

"When she was here she had a couple of nightmares and screamed out in the night and stuff, but Tarn's quite a quiet girl but she's a big strong girl," said Billingsley.

"She's just naturally very strong and that's probably what saved her really.

"She's never been taught how to defend herself but she must have, otherwise it could have been a different situation."

He said he supported her decision to speak out.

"The only worry I had was if he did get to come back, was that going to jeopardise the case, but she never said anything that I felt was against him.

"If you knew my daughter you'd know what type of person she is.

"She doesn't find fault in anyone.

"She's very forgiving. I don't know if you noticed in the interview but she said how she felt sorry for the woman and the children, and you know, how many people would have thought to say that?" he said.

- Herald on Sunday

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