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The Gaby Mearth Case
After much publicity, as a result of 'the Ripper' case, Cracknell received many pleas for help with numerous cases. One such case reached National headlines. It came about when Cracknell received a telephone call from a London-
An industrial millionaire, living on the edge of picturesque Lake Como in Italy, had instructed the lawyer to approach Cracknell and ask for his assistance in the recovery of his daughter, who had been kidnapped some six months previously. On the understanding that there was to be no publicity, a first-
Above: Cracknell is present when Gaby is found
It is important to note here that, under Italian law, when a kidnapping has occurred all funds and financial matters pertaining to the immediate family of the kidnap victim comes immediately under the control of the investigating magistrate, to prevent any ransom being paid. The millionaire's daughter, Gaby, had been kidnapped and held to ransom for the past six months. Now the demands were increasing on a daily basis, accompanied by threats to cut off certain parts of the girl's body if the ransom wasn't paid.
The fact that kidnapping in Italy had now become recognised as an everyday business occurrence was of little comfort to Gaby's parents, who were prepared to pay any amount of money to recover their daughter. On his arrival, Cracknell was given accommodation in the family's sumptuous villa and immediately set to work by requesting a detailed ordnance survey map of an area surrounding Lake Como, covering 20 miles.
He immediately pinpointed a small area on the map, stating that he felt here was a possible connection. Due to the father's high profile and influence, the colonel of the local carabinieri agreed to accompany Cracknell, to search the specific area he had pinpointed on the map. Accompanied by two armoured vehicles and twenty armed militia men, Cracknell followed the route he had psychically formulated.
Below: Cracknell and the Mearth family
After struggling through rough terrain they finally came upon an isolated, tumbledown building. The immediate area was surrounded by armoured vehicles and entry was gained. Once inside, it was painfully obvious that although the property had been recently occupied, it was now abandoned.
At Cracknell's insistence, however, a detailed search was made of the interior and on a smelly, stained mattress in the corner of one of the rooms a long, auburn hair was found. It matched the description of Gaby's hair.
A further search uncovered a skirt, which her father felt could well belong to his daughter. Their euphoria was short lived, however, when the Police stated that if indeed Gaby had been held there it was obvious that the kidnappers had since abandoned the building, and there were no clues as to where they had gone. On their return home that evening the atmosphere was one of strong despondency. Having come so close, they had had to abandon their search.
In a flash of psychic intuition, which has become Cracknell's trademark, he blurted out, "Don't despair. She will be returned on Friday" (five days hence.) The media had somehow got wind of something in the air, and the villa was soon besieged by the Press and television crews. Cracknell suggested that the only obvious way out of their dilemma was for one newspaper only to be granted the exclusive rights to the story of Gaby's return. The family agreed to this.