Wendy Li and David Farnell of Bunbury sparked an international surrogacy outcry but a judge ruled in their favour. Picture: South West Times.
Wendy Li and David Farnell of Bunbury sparked an international surrogacy outcry but a judge ruled in their favour. Picture: South West Times.

Father of baby Gammy dies

The father of baby Gammy, the child that sparked an international surrogacy scandal, has reportedly died.

David Farnell is reported to have passed away after battling an asbestos-related illness.

Farnell and his wife Wendy became the centre of a global media storm in 2014 when their Thai surrogate mother accused them of abandoning one of their twin babies who was born with Down's Sydnrome.

Pattaramon Chanbua accused the couple of wanting to take only Gammy's "healthy" sister Pipah home to Western Australia.

The case captured the nation's hearts and led to an outpouring of support for the young baby with more than $240,000 raised for him.

However the couple maintained they did not leave Gammy behind because of Down's syndrome. They said they had been told he had a heart condition and would not survive days after his birth.

Farnell was also revealed to be a sex offender, having spent three years in jail for sexual offences against young girls in Bunbury. He was sentenced to a further 18 months for indecently dealing with a child under 13.

RELATED: Gammy's case sparks surrogacy outrage

 

Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua poses with baby Gammy at the Samitivej Hospital on August 6, 2014. Picture: Getty Images
Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua poses with baby Gammy at the Samitivej Hospital on August 6, 2014. Picture: Getty Images

 

Wendy and David Farnell.
Wendy and David Farnell.

 

RELATED: Farnell's tell all to 60 Minutes

However a judgment in the Family Court of Western Australia eventually sided with the parents.

"I am not persuaded that the Farnells ever asked for Mrs Chanbua to have an abortion, nor am I persuaded that Joy or Antonio (employees) ever discussed abortion as anything more than an option. Nevertheless, Mrs Chanbua gained the impression that the Farnells only wanted the 'healthy' baby," Justice Stephen Thackray said.

Justice Thackray said it was clear Mrs Chanbua had "decided she was going to keep the boy".

"While it is far from clear, I consider it likely that the Farnells became aware that Mrs Chanbua was talking about keeping the little boy. There was nothing they could do about this until the children were born, but I consider the Farnells were prepared to contemplate an outcome where they were only able to have the girl."

The judge said he took the sex offender conviction into account when considering that Gammy's twin sister should continue to be raised by the Farnells.

"In reaching my decision, I have primarily taken into account the strong attachments that Pipah has now formed with the Farnells and many others in Bunbury, as well as the quality of the care she is receiving," the judgment read.

"While it is a matter of grave concern to leave any child in the home of a convicted sex offender, I have accepted the expert evidence that while there is a low risk of harm if Pipah stays in that home, there is a high risk of harm if she were removed. I have also taken into account the measures that can be put in place to ensure Pipah is kept safe."

Gammy has remained in Thailand with his Thai surrogate mother and is reported to be doing well.

 

 

 

Originally published as Father of baby Gammy dies



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