The mum of a fake prince who embezzled $16 million to fund a life of luxury has made an emotional plea for his release from prison - revealing she has set up his bedroom waiting for his homecoming.
Andre Barlow, from Thames, quietly prays every day for the return of her son Joseph Morehu-Barlow, currently jailed in Brisbane, where he convinced colleagues at the Queensland health department he was a Tahitian prince while stealing millions between 2007 and 2011. He was sentenced to 14 years' jail in 2013.
"I want to make absolutely clear as a mother of six, I don't have blinkers on, and I know more than anyone what Joey did was abhorrent - his crime to the State of Queensland a disgrace. My sole reason for speaking out now is because I know he's ready to begin the slow process of resettling back into normal society," Barlow told the Courier Mail.
Barlow, described by friends as a strong and kind woman who has endured half a lifetime of domestic abuse, the tragic suicide of her youngest child Trevor, and survived a brutal knife attack just sixteen months ago, is adamant she's not making excuses for her son.
"I've done things in my life I'm not proud of but I got a second chance. My kids had a tough childhood, and witnessed far too many beatings from their father on me - it was horrendous stuff," she said.
"[But] I see a remorseful man who knows he's paid the ultimate price," she said.
Barlow has so far met all the proper requirements the Parole Board of Queensland have requested, the Courier Mail reported.
When Morehu-Barlow is eventually released and extradited out of Brisbane, it will be back into her care in New Zealand where he will be required to adhere to the transtasman parole conditions.
"I have all the necessary people in place from psychiatrists to community workers,'' she said.
"I also see how well he has integrated into the system.
"He's a role model prisoner, and I think the good work he's doing behind bars he can use that far more effectively outside jail working with our youth, helping them understand right from wrong."
Inside the humble bungalow that her son will one day call home, the tidy front room remains empty. His bed is made up for when he walks through the front door tasting freedom for the first time since his arrest in 2011.
Her son has already made two previous applications for parole.
Since his incarceration, much has changed for Barlow - due to circumstances she's unable to speak about, she is now the legal guardian for one of her eight grandchildren.
"He asks every day when is Joey coming home. He waters the vegetable patch because he wants his uncle to have fresh broccoli after jail, and this week he put the birthday card he made at Kindy on his bed,'' she said.
"I will fly to Brisbane if I have to and sit before that Parole Board and assure them I will do everything it takes to care for my son - just so long as I can bring him home."
- Courier Mail