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Australia How a grandmother hid her identity from her second family for 50 years

02:05  19 september  2020
02:05  19 september  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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The two families were eventually brought together three years ago and learnt the Daphne they all mourned was the same woman who had lived two 'Added to that she was the mother of eight and grandmother and great grandmother from her NSW family. 'I hope having the record adjusted to

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a person posing for the camera: Daphne Pearl Hampstead (pictured) left her Sydney home in 1958 and lived a secret life in Queensland until her death in 2007 © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne Pearl Hampstead (pictured) left her Sydney home in 1958 and lived a secret life in Queensland until her death in 2007

Right up to Daphne Hampstead's death in a Queensland hospital in November 2007 - supposedly aged 83 - she was deeply secretive about her long life.

A year earlier, Diann Green, who knew her stepmother as Daphne Jones, saw her at the paper shredder she routinely used to destroy letters, Christmas cards and other personal documents.

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Months before Daphne's death, Diann and her husband Tryone travelled to the New South Wales Riverina region looking for clues as to who she really was.

In the cemetery at Cootamundra the pair searched for Daphne's father's gravestone but could not find any Frederick Onslow, the surname with which she claimed to have been born.

Upon their return to Queensland the Greens told Daphne what they had done and she reacted with extreme anger that the couple, whom she loved dearly, had been digging into her past.

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The 62-year mystery around the identity of Daphne Hampstead - or Onslow or Shaw or Jones - was not officially solved until 13 years after she died.

Her death certificate recorded her age as 83, her father as Frederick Onslow and that she was 49 when she 'married' Diann's father Raymond Charles Jones.

None of that was true.

She died as Daphne Pearl Jones - the same name on her birth certificate, but that was entirely coincidental. She had never remarried after fleeing an abusive husband half a century earlier and was in fact 89.

While Daphne's past remained a mystery to the Greens even after her death, another family completely unknown to them was searching for answers of its own.

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She (D)___ how much I missed my parents so she did everything she (E)____ to make me feel at home. She was also really imaginative and spent hours telling me stories that she had made up. She was the most positive person I’ve ever met and she taught me how to look for the good in everything.

“My grandma and her two little sons were captured in Russia during the war. Grandmother told us that many people pitied the Russians and shared some of their food with them, but that food was almost nothing, and she had to go begging with other captives to local people to feed her two children.

Daphne Hampstead had walked out on her husband and eight children in 1958 and apart from a few letters shortly after her disappearance had never been heard from again.

The two families were eventually brought together three years ago and learnt the Daphne they all mourned was the same woman who had lived two completely separate lives.

The Hampstead family was driven to crack the six-decade missing person case when Daphne's daughter Daphne Lillian was on her deathbed in August 2017.

Daphne Lillian's daughter Donna Gough hired private investigator Luke Athens from Melbourne Confidential in an attempt to make her mother's final wish come true.

'I was engaged because it was Daphne's daughter's last dying wish to find her mum,' Mr Athens told Daily Mail Australia.

Athens said he solved Daphne's disappearance in only four hours. Once he had put together the documentation to support his claims, the billable hours totalled 12.

The private investigator began his search by asking the Hampstead family what they knew about Daphne's identity.

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'I then gathered all historic information available on our database systems on Daphne and created a timeline,' he explained.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Daphne's granddaughter hired private investigator Luke Athens from Melbourne Confidential to locate her. 'I was engaged because it was Daphne's daughter's last dying wish to find her mum,' Athens said. He solved Daphne's disappearance in 12 hours. Invoice is pictured © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne's granddaughter hired private investigator Luke Athens from Melbourne Confidential to locate her. 'I was engaged because it was Daphne's daughter's last dying wish to find her mum,' Athens said. He solved Daphne's disappearance in 12 hours. Invoice is pictured a group of people walking down a street © Provided by Daily Mail

Athens then generated a Python computer programming language script to create variations on how to spell Daphne's name and date of birth.

'From that I was able to conduct a link analysis which assisted me to identify close associates to Daphne in the past and use that information to connect to others that knew of Daphne via a timeline and found my results.'

'All information was cross-referenced with other people who knew of Daphne, followed up with facial recognition, photo comparisons and statements from individuals that were close to her.'

'The time line of Daphne's life matched. We also noted that her new changed name just appeared out of nowhere on our historic databases.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Daphne Hampstead's family hired private investigator Luke Athens (pictured) to investigate her disappearance © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne Hampstead's family hired private investigator Luke Athens (pictured) to investigate her disappearance

'Because she wasn't 18 this name should have had previous records registered historically, plus that little thing called a coroner's investigation summed it up.'

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The whole job cost the Hampstead family just $2,280, with GST.

Athens put Donna Gough in touch with Diann and Tyrone Green and three of them exchanged photographs of Daphne. Each family saw marked similarities between the younger and older person in the images.

Analysis of the pictures by an Australian Federal Police facial recognition expert helped confirm they were of the same woman.

Daphne Hampstead's disappearance had been investigated in 2012 by a coroner who found she was likely dead but could not determine how or when she died.

A fresh inquest by Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott this year was armed with the new information and has finally closed the case.

On Wednesday, Ms Truscott ruled that Daphne Hampstead of NSW and Daphne Jones of Queensland were the one person and she died in 2007 at age 89.

Why Daphne never made contact with her original Sydney family is still unclear but how she managed to keep her second life secret for decades was revealed, in part.

Daphne was born Daphne Pearl Jones to Frederick and Eva Jones, then aged 26 and 20 respectively, at Cootamundra on July 13 or 15, 1918.

Frederick and Eva would have four more daughters: Lucy, Pamela, Linda and Eva.

a close up of text on a whiteboard: Daphne gave a poem called What to Count to her 'granddaughter' Megan Kirley who kept it on her fridge and posted to Facebook with the caption: 'This was my beautiful nanna's poem'. Megan, who was part of Daphne's Queensland family, was shot dead in Brisbane last year © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne gave a poem called What to Count to her 'granddaughter' Megan Kirley who kept it on her fridge and posted to Facebook with the caption: 'This was my beautiful nanna's poem'. Megan, who was part of Daphne's Queensland family, was shot dead in Brisbane last year

Daphne married Sidney Thomas Hampstead at Cootamundra when she was 18 and he was 27. Over the next ten years the couple had eight children: Leslie, Patricia, Marcia, Daphne Lillian, twins Barry and Clifford, Helen, and Janet.

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The family lived at Cootamundra, Tumut, Grafton, Taree, Oxley Island and Muswellbrook, where they worked as share farmers before buying their own farm at Scone.

Financial difficulties forced the couple to sell the farm and move to a dairy at Bossley Park in Sydney's west in 1956, by which time their two eldest daughters were married and living at Muswellbrook.

'Daphne was a loving mother who enjoyed cooking and was apparently social and engaging,' Ms Truscutt found.

'Daphne and Sidney are described to have had a loving relationship however Sidney was possessive and jealous and violent to Daphne.

'After leaving the farm in Scone and moving to Bossley Park the domestic violence became more frequent.'

Daphne worked in the city as a cook - under the name Daphne Hanson or Hamson - and would leave home in the early hours of the morning, returning about 4pm.

'However, as time went on her returning hours became later around 10pm and Sidney likely suspected she was having an affair and he became more obsessive,' Ms Truscott found.

a vintage photo of a group of people posing for the camera: Before her disappearance Daphne was working in a restaurant in Sydney's central business district. It is named as Carl's in court documents but could have been Cahill's (pictured) © Provided by Daily Mail Before her disappearance Daphne was working in a restaurant in Sydney's central business district. It is named as Carl's in court documents but could have been Cahill's (pictured)

Shortly before dawn on May 10, 1958, Daphne was picked up from the Cowpasture Road dairy by a taxi. She was two months shy of her 40th birthday and left carrying most of her photographs and clothes.

Two days later her husband received a handwritten letter from Daphne inside an envelope with a postmark from nearby Fairfield.

'My darling Sid,' the letter began. 'Oh darling what it is costing me to write this letter, you will never know.

'I left work today, I just can't go on. I thought there was no love left at home for me at all. But I have realised how wrong I was over the last week.

'I think it has been a week I shall never forget. I am going away for a while (by myself) don't worry about me, I will be okay.

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'I know now I can always come to you for understanding I do wish I had known that before dear.'

Daphne also sent a letter to her daughter Daphne Lillian asking her to look after her father and younger brothers and sisters.

Another letter found by Daphne Lillian was from a man called Eugene who lived in Tasmania and had promised to pick her up from the airport.

a person posing for the camera: Megan Kirley knew Daphne Jones as 'nanna' and inherited a share of her home at Maryborough on the Fraser Coast when she died in 2007. What Megan did not know was that Daphne was a widow six years older than she claimed and had left husband and eight children in 1958 © Provided by Daily Mail Megan Kirley knew Daphne Jones as 'nanna' and inherited a share of her home at Maryborough on the Fraser Coast when she died in 2007. What Megan did not know was that Daphne was a widow six years older than she claimed and had left husband and eight children in 1958

However, Ms Truscott heard the letter had been ripped into pieces; whether that was done by Sidney or Daphne was still unknown.

'Daphne's departure caused Sidney to be a broken man and he buried his sorrows in alcohol,' Ms Truscott found.

Sidney lived with Daphne Lillian from 1963 and in early 1973 moved to Dubbo in the state's central west where he spent the last six months of his life with daughter Marcia.

He died of broncopneumonia and arteriosclerotic cerebral disease on May 2, 1973 aged 64.

Daphne, who had changed her date of birth to make herself six years younger, was by then living in Queensland where she had begun a de facto relationship with plantation owner Roy Shaw.

In 1963 the couple, who might have met in Papua New Guinea, had a place in Brisbane where she worked in a sewing machine shop and called herself Daphne Shaw.

Roy Shaw died in 1972 and Daphne moved on with his close friend Raymond Jones whose wife Vona had died the same year.

Following a 'celebration' of her relationship with Raymond in 1973 - the year her husband Sidney died - Daphne took his name and became stepmother to his daughter Diann.

a large lawn in front of a house: Daphne spent her last years living in a single-storey brick house (pictured) in Steindl Street, Granville, an eastern suburb of Maryborough. The house was passed to her Queensland family © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne spent her last years living in a single-storey brick house (pictured) in Steindl Street, Granville, an eastern suburb of Maryborough. The house was passed to her Queensland family

Daphne, an accomplished seamstress with and eye for design and Raymond, an electrician, bought and renovated houses.

The couple shifted around many locations in Queensland before moving to Maryborough on the Fraser Coast in 2003.

Raymond died of a heart attack in Princess Alexandra Hospital, South Brisbane, on July 7, 2004 aged 74.

His death certificate listed Daphne Pearl Onslow as his third wife, although they were not married and that was never her name.

Daphne's last Queensland driver's licence issued in 2004 recorded her date of birth as July 13, 1924 - six years after she was born.

Ms Truscott said the photograph on Daphne's licence was taken when she was 86, 'though she might not even look 80'.

'There are younger photographs of Daphne Pearl which show that she was a youthful looking woman and from reports of Tyrone and Diann she was very well groomed.'

a tall building: Daphne and Raymond Jones shifted around many locations in Queensland before moving to Maryborough on the Fraser Coast in 2003. Raymond died of a heart attack in South Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) on July 7, 2004 aged 74 © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne and Raymond Jones shifted around many locations in Queensland before moving to Maryborough on the Fraser Coast in 2003. Raymond died of a heart attack in South Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital (pictured) on July 7, 2004 aged 74

'It would appear she could easily have been accepted as being 12 years younger than she was.'

Daphne spent her last years living in Steindl Street, Granville, an eastern suburb of Maryborough. She died of rectal and liver cancer at Maryborough Hospital on November 2, 2007.

Her death certificate stated Daphne had been married to Raymond Jones and died aged 83 when she was actually 89, Ms Truscott found.

'Searches in Queensland also demonstrate that Daphne Jones or Onslow or Hampstead never engaged in a registered marriage consistent with her not having actually remarried after she left Sidney back in 1973,' she said.

Ms Truscott said after Daphne's granddaughter Donna met her stepdaughter Diann and her husband Tyrone the three of them compared notes.

Diann and Tyrone told Donna her grandmother had a 'magnetic, charismatic personality' and 'disliked talking about her past'.

The couple made statements to the coroner in which they said Daphne had talked of having twin sons but mentioned no other children.

'She was very guarded about her history,' Ms Truscott found.

'Diann reports that in 2006 she saw that Daphne was using a paper shredder and remarks that this was consistent with her experience that Daphne would destroy all things about her past.'

Ms Truscott hoped that confirming Daphne Hampstead, Daphne Onslow, Daphne Shaw and Daphne Jones were the same person would bring some relief to those who missed her.

a store in a brick building: Daphne died of rectal and liver cancer at Maryborough Hospital (pictured) on November 2, 2007. Her death certificate stated Daphne had been married to Raymond Jones and died aged 83 when she was actually 89 © Provided by Daily Mail Daphne died of rectal and liver cancer at Maryborough Hospital (pictured) on November 2, 2007. Her death certificate stated Daphne had been married to Raymond Jones and died aged 83 when she was actually 89

'I note that the notice of Daphne's death exhibited in the newspaper indicated that she was the beloved wife of the late Roy Jones,' she said in her findings.

'Loved mother and mother-in-law of Diann and Tyrone, Ted, Esme (deceased) and Theresa (deceased). The loved Nana of 7 and Great nana of 10.

'Added to that she was the mother of eight and grandmother and great grandmother from her NSW family.

'I hope having the record adjusted to reflect that Daphne's death is properly recorded in some way brings a sense of completeness to both Daphne Pearl's NSW and Queensland families.'

The Coroner's Court would be notifying the NSW and Queensland registries for Births, Deaths and Marriages to record the true facts of Daphne Hampstead's life.

In a tragic twist, one of Daphne's Queensland relatives, 40-year-old mother-of-two Megan Kirley, who knew her as 'nanna', was shot dead in Brisbane last year.

Private investigator Athens said the Hampstead family was thankful to have fulfilled Daphne's daughter's dying wish to 'find' her long-lost mother.

'I received my first hug and thank you from my client after 25 years in service,' Athens said.

It’s vital to openly discuss matters like these, not from a egotistic point of view with media though the story represents hope and will helps others

'There are people out there that feel hopeless, depressed because of childhood trauma and family mysteries.

'The truth will set everyone free.'

Private investigator Luke Athens said the Hampstead family was thankful to have fulfilled Daphne's daughter's dying wish to 'find' her long-lost mother. Cootamundra cemetery is pictured © Provided by Daily Mail Private investigator Luke Athens said the Hampstead family was thankful to have fulfilled Daphne's daughter's dying wish to 'find' her long-lost mother. Cootamundra cemetery is pictured Read more

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