Sunday, September 7, 2008

'Girl in cupboard' to marry man who hid her

NATASHA Ryan, the teenager believed murdered who actually spent five years hiding in a cupboard in her boyfriend's house, is to marry the man who hid her.
Ryan, 24, and Scott Black, 31, will marry later this year in an intimate ceremony in Rockhampton, the couple has told a women's magazine.
"I'm sick of being known as Natasha Ryan - 'the girl in the cupboard'. I want to start a new life," Ms Ryan tells Woman's Day.
Ms Ryan went into hiding at Mr Black's central Queensland home in 1998, when she was 14 and was not heard from for more than five years until a tip-off led to a raid of the house.
Her disappearance came about the time of a number of well-publicised disappearances of women and girls in Rockhampton, who were later found to be victims of serial killer Leonard John Fraser.
Fraser was charged with Ms Ryan's murder and her spectacular reappearance came in the middle of his murder trial.
Mr Black, seven years Ms Ryan's senior, spent 12 months in prison for perjury after he had given evidence at Fraser's 2002 committal hearing that he had not heard from Natasha since her disappearance.
The couple, who have a four-year-old son, Corey, hope their wedding will bring a sense of healing after years of heartache.
But Ms Ryan feared she would never get to marry the man who was her only connection to the outside world through her teenage years.
"When I was found, I thought there was no chance of us ever marrying. I doubted we'd be able to be together - I thought he'd be in prison."
Even though they have known each other since she was 12, when Mr Black was going out with her older sister, Ms Ryan told the magzine that his proposal was a shock.
"We were sitting at home ... and suddenly he pulled out the ring," Ms Ryan said.
"It caught me off guard and the emotions were overwhelming."


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