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Lapthornes furious at Australian and Croatian -

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Lapthornes furious at Australian and Croatian police

The World Today - Tuesday, 7 October , 2008 12:30:00

Reporter: Emma Alberici

ELEANOR HALL: Britt Lapthorne's father has lashed out at the Croatian police for not letting him
know that they had discovered human remains in the town where his daughter disappeared 19 days ago.

Dale Lapthorne was close to tears as he told the Australian media in Dubrovnik that he thought that
the officials sent by the Australian government seemed to be there strictly for political purposes.

He thanked the Australian people for their show of support but said the Australian government had
let his family down.

Europe Correspondent Emma Alberici reports from Dubrovnik.

DALE LAPTHORNE: It's just extraordinary; it is your worst nightmare in many ways. I mean with this
body we almost had some closure you know? I could at least say well we're going home with Britt but
it's just so extraordinary.

EMMA ALBERICI: It was just before noon Croatian time, people were enjoying the last gasp of summer
in the Adriatic's oldest town. Out at sea a fisherman had made a grisly discovery.

DALE LAPTHORNE: I received the news from the media and that's the only place I received the news.
Nothing from the police. We did hear some comments from the police, especially Australian Federal
police officers saying that you know damn the media and hang on, they're the only people talking to
us.

EMMA ALBERICI: Can you tell us what's the latest you've actually heard from police?

DALE LAPTHORNE: Nothing at all, they're doing an autopsy tomorrow morning on the body. The body is
quite badly decomposed which appears to be inconsistent with somebody who has been missing for the
time Britt has.

We have been asked to provide dental history of Britt, I will give a DNA sample tomorrow as well.

EMMA ALBERICI: Did you meet with Antonio today? This police officer from Zagreb?

DALE LAPTHORNE: Yes we did meet, we met with Antonio and we met the phantom AFP officer eventually.
He is here, I felt his statement that he made to us, I was really quite disappointed. It seemed to
be very political and I thought if he's here for a political reason then just to cover up for the
government, the Australian government then I am just extremely disappointed.

Australian people, if it wasn't for the Australian people I don't think the Australian government
would be moving and from what I understand there is enormous interest and empathy from the
Australian people and I'm very grateful for that because the only tool that we have to make the
Australian government take some responsibility, now I want a bit of honesty and his statement today
to me was totally dishonest.

EMMA ALBERICI: Did it indicate that the Australian government is leaving no stone unturned?

DALE LAPTHORNE: Absolutely, he didn't indicate it all.

EMMA ALBERICI: On the surface the investigation into Britt Lapthorne's disappearance seems to be at
best muddling along. Answering questions about the days discovery, Deputy chief of police Ivan
Kukrika fiercely defended his role in the case and said that even with body parts being found that
could possibly be hers, his team was still out in full force looking for her.

IVAN KUKRIKA (translated): We have one helicopter which is just for this case and in the next two
days they will go on with their search on the other parts of this area.

DALE LAPTHORNE: We hibernated a little but we didn't hibernate in our room, we went out of
Debrovnik and we thought that the three of us, Simon, Darren and myself we thought we'd just get
some time to ourselves and we went and walked and we actually had a bit of a laugh.

We all agreed it was very therapeutic.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the missing Melbourne woman Britt Lapthorne's father Dale Lapthorne ending
Emma Alberici's report.

And a spokesman for the Australian Federal Police says the investigation is being handled by the
Croatian authorities and that the AFP has no investigative powers in Croatia.

The AFP says its officer in Croatia has offered full support to Croatian police and has organised
for the Lapthorne famioly to have a Croatian police liason officer to help keep them informed about
developments in the investigation.