$120,000 TV deal splits dad and rescued teen

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$120,000 TV deal splits dad and rescued teen
July 28, 2009 Print Ready Email Article

THE British teenager who made headlines by surviving 12 nights in the Australian bush is now in a feud with his father.

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HAPPIER TIMES: Mr Richard Cass visiting his son Jamie on 15 Jul after the teen went missing for 12 days. PICTURE: AFP

And it is all over money.

According to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Richard Cass, 54, the father of 19-year-old Jamie Neale, is involved in a nasty feud with his son over the money made from television appearances.

Mr Cass said his relationship with his son had turned ‘murderously nasty’ over the cash he received for recounting his story.

On 3 Jul, Mr Neale who is from north London, set off for a walk through the Blue Mountains, a national park near Sydney, without his handphone and without letting anyone know where he was going.

He had little food and wore just a shirt and dark jacket that not only did not protect him from the elements, but also made him hard to spot by rescuers.

The week-long search for him was estimated to have cost Australian taxpayers more than A$100,000 ($116,000).

Just as his family had given him up for dead, he stumbled out of the bush dehydrated and exhausted.

Mr Neale’s miraculous survival under such harsh conditions made headlines around the world.

The Mail on Sunday said he received £pounds;50,000 ($120,000) for the television contracts he and his father signed, but Mr Cass has not received his share of the money.

Mr Cass said: ‘I feel I have been robbed by my own son. I was so glad when he was found but it’s gone from being such a feel-good thing to being murderously nasty.

‘The son I found isn’t the son I went out to look for. I’m not sure if we’re going to be on speaking terms for a very long time.’

Mr Cass said people in Australia had asked why their ‘taxpayers (should) pay for very expensive searches for idiots, especially foreigners, who don’t take proper precautions’.

Mr Cass said he hoped that his son would ‘do the right thing’.

He said: ‘He knows he’s got to give me some of the money and I will be happy. I want him to make that step that will enable us to reconcile.’

The teen is expected to remain in Australia for a further six to eight weeks as he is still not yet well enough to fly.

He said: ‘I do not plan to get into a public slanging match with my father and will deal with any issues in private. I had an agreement with him regarding his involvement in the ’60 Minutes’ (current affairs) interview – he wanted his flights and the rescue party paid for.

‘I agreed to that and intend to honour that commitment. I have yet to receive the 60 Minutes money – it is due next week – but what I do with it is a matter for me.’

Some Australian news websites carried comments accusing Mr Neale of staging his survival to secure a lucrative media deal but he denied that his story was a hoax.

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