The Australian woman who sparked international alarm last year after convincing gardaí she was a child sex trafficking victim is set to be deported from Canada after making similar claims.
Samantha Azzopardi, 25, who has more than 40 false aliases in her homeland, is due to be removed from Canada in the coming days after alleging she was kept in a cage in a children’s hospital and abused for two weeks.
Ms Azzopardi told officials in Calgary she was a teenager called Aurora Hepburn, and had filed a false missing person report under a separate alias in an attempt to convince officers of her claim.
However, after becoming concerned about certain facts in the case, Canadian police contacted gardaí on Thursday to establish if they were dealing with the same woman who had caused an international wild goose chase when she turned up in Ireland last year.
Last October, Ms Azzopardi sparked an investigation involving 2,000 Garda hours and 115 international lines of inquiry after being found wandering in a distressed state outside the GPO.
While speaking no English, she was taken into protective custody and kept under armed guard at Temple Street Children’s Hospital after officers became convinced she was a child trafficking victim.
However, two weeks into the investigation officers began questioning the presumed facts and sought permission from the High Court to publish a picture of the ‘teenager’ to help with identifying her.
Within days, they were contacted by relatives of Ms Azzopardi, who confirmed her true identity and that she was a 25-year-old woman who arrived in Ireland to visit a friend of the family in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
It subsequently emerged the woman had 40 different aliases in Australia for making similar claims.
Ms Azzopardi was sent back to Australia from Ireland after the incident last year. However, in May she returned to this country to work for a short time as a family’s au pair.
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