The families of the arrested 60 Minutes crew have finally released a joint statement sharing their anguish over the past few weeks.
John McAvoy, husband of presenter, Tara Brown; Denise Alexander Rice, wife of Stephen Rice; Cara Williamson, wife of Ben Williamson; and Lara Battistel, wife of David ‘Tangles’ Ballment’, have described the events as a “living nightmare”.
“It’s hard to imagine it could be any tougher. From what we know, they are in good health, keeping their spirits up and are being well looked after by the Lebanese authorities. You can’t imagine how comforting it is to know that. That is all that is getting us through at the moment,” the statement reads.
Brown’s husband, John McAvoy, has said he hasn’t yet told their two sons where their mum is.
The boys, Jack, 7, and Tom, 5, have always asked “when is mummy coming home?”, when she is away. But, this time, McAvoy can’t bear to admit their mother is locked in a Beirut prison.
The statement says, “Some of us haven’t even told our children what’s happening yet. It’s not an easy conversation to have with a five or sever-year-old who ask as they go to sleep each night when mummy or daddy is coming home. Understandably we are all anxious and worried sick.”
The daughter of Ben Williams, aged 8 and 5, have also not been told their dad is in prison.
The families of the crew all say their first instinct was to fly over to Lebanon, but have been advised to stay.
“We’ve formed our own crew back here because we’re all in the same boat. Our natural instinct was to fly over and be there for them. Immediately. But our desire to be over there, possibly see them for ourselves and to give them our love and support has to be balanced against the advice from the people on the ground and that [advice] is to stay here.”
The Daily Telegraph reports that last week Nine News boss, Darren Wick, flew to Beirut and took letters from loved ones to the crew. He also brought special photos for them to treasure as they stay in prison.
Watch to find out more on the arrests. (Post continues after video.)
In the statement, the families also hit back at those who have criticised the crew.
“People forget that Tara, Stephen, Ben and Tangles were there doing a job; covering a story. As it turns out, a very important story. It’s what they do. It’s what they have been doing brilliantly for years.
“Obviously, this time, something wen wrong. But if we have one message, it’s that people who have been so quick to judge should at least wait until all the facts are known. We haven’t spoken to our partners since they were arrested. Very few facts are clear at this stage. If we don’t have all the facts, how can anyone else?”
The 60 Minutes crew were arrested on charges of kidnapping, assault and conspiracy after they attempted to recover the children of a Brisbane mum.