herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

Sammy is lovely, but I knew she had some issues, says her former boss

A former boss of Samantha Azzopardi has described her as a "lovely girl who had issues".

It has now emerged that the 25-year-old has used up to 40 aliases and made claims she was a teenage orphan, a cancer patient and a rape victim in her native Australia.

Chris Nunes, the manager of a restaurant in southwest Sydney recognised Samantha's face on TV when gardai released pictures of her as part of their global search to find her identity.

Ms Nunes said she immediately messaged her sister saying "Oh my God, it's Sammy".

The restaurant manager added: "She used to work here for us. I saw the photo of her last night and then this morning I heard them say her name and I was like 'oh my God it's her'."

Samantha, who had relatives living just outside Sydney, was hired by the restaurant two years ago and worked there for five months.

"I knew that she had some issues, that's why we let her go", said Ms Nunes.

"She was a lovely girl. There was nothing I could say that she was a horrible person or anything, that's why I gave her the opportunity.

"When she left here she said she was going to travel overseas."

DISTRESSED

Today her parents, who have been named as Bruce Azzopardi and Joanne Marie Campbell, were said to be on their way to Ireland to re-unite with their daughter.

Samantha, who was found in a dazed and distressed state on Dublin's O'Connell Street on October 10 is from Campbelltown in New South Wales and was known to Australian Police.

She has a history of mental health issues.

She had previously made allegations to NSW police that she was sexually abused but these have not been substantiated.

She has convictions in Queensland relating to false representations and forgery.

Samantha is known to a number of Australian police forces for telling false stories including a story that she had been adopted, that she was born in France and that she was a gymnast. Her convictions include one for defrauding by deceit in an attempt to get benefits payments.

The vulnerable woman remains in the care of the HSE and the High Court has been asked to decide whether she stays there.

Gardai are believed to be considering bringing charges for wasting police time.

However, they are now satisfied that nothing "bad" had happened to her since her arrival here.

hnews@herald.ie

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