Gary Allen Tony Rickards
Gary Allen 2007
Whilst out horseriding, Elle Robinson spotted a field of neglected ponies and, as she got closer, she grew worried for their welfare. After being confronted by farmer Gary Allen and thrown off the land, she contacted the RSPCA, who later contacted her to explain that they couldn't find the horses in question. Chatting to her friend, journalist Riley Parker, Elle realised that the farmer had moved the horses, hoping to avoid prosecution, and the pair of them went down to the farm after dark to have a look around, eventually finding the animals hidden away in a barn. After contacting the RSPCA again, Elle and Riley learnt that they wouldn't be able to send anyone out until the morning, so they decided to keep watch by camping out overnight, but were caught and chased off by Gary. This time, they decided to take action, and parked Riley's car in front of the road leading into the barn, stopping Gary from getting in. And when Gary threatened to contact the police, Riley called his bluff and phoned them himself, leading to a night at the police station for the three of them.
After spending all day writing an article about the incident with Riley, Elle was stunned when Gary turned up outside her house in Ramsay Street. He had found Riley's bag and had returned it to the address he found inside. He then told Elle that the newspaper had contacted him for a comment, and angrily explained to her that the situation wasn't quite as clear cut as it had seemed. He explained that the horses had belonged to his wife, who had died six months earlier, leaving him to raise their young son alone, and he'd been finding it difficult to keep up with work around the farm. He went on to tell her that the horses had been ill due to some problems with the hay supply, then he'd found Patterson's Curse in their paddock, which was the reason he had moved them to the barn. Elle was left speechless as he told her that thanks to her little vendetta, the bank would now close him down completely. Feeling awful about what she'd done, Elle promised that they'd print a retraction, but Gary told her that the damage was done. Desperate to do something, Elle spoke to Gary about his plight since the drought and suggested to newspaper editor Brad Jordan that she could produce a series of articles for him, on the problems facing local farmers. Thanks to one of Elle's articles being published, Gary was then given emergency state funding.