> Guest Character
John Allen Adrian Mulraney
John Allen 2001
Marital Status: Sandy
Children: Braiden, Keisha, Louise [Lolly]
When Cheryl Stark had a fight with her boyfriend, Lou Carpenter, one night, she fell into the arms of one of her pub customers, John Allen, and the pair began a brief affair, which resulted in Cheryl falling pregnant. Cheryl then wrote John a letter, explaining that she could no longer see him, before telling Lou about the pregnancy and allowing him to believe that he was the father of the child. In July 1994, the baby Ė a little girl named Shannon Louise Ė was born and, two years later, Cheryl was run down by a car and killed, leaving Lou to bring up his child alone.
Seven years later, Lou was stunned to receive a letter from John, explaining that he believed he was the biological father of Louise, or Lolly as she was known by most people. At first, Lou tried to ignore it, then he agreed to meet John, who brought his letter from Cheryl as proof of the affair and asked for a DNA test to see if his suspicions were correct. When the test results proved that John was Lollyís real father, Lou was devastated, but John insisted that he wasnít going to take the girl away from him, so Lou agreed to the two of them meeting. During the awkward first meeting, in the park, John brought along Goldie, a friendís dog that he was looking after and Lolly fell in love with the puppy and enjoyed spending time with John, who pushed her on the swings, something that Louís bad back prevented him from doing. Back at home, Lou explained to Lolly that she now had two daddies, and they arranged a picnic to meet with John again. As Lolly played with Goldie, Lou asked her to throw a toy to daddy, and was upset when she threw it to John.
Despite the difficult circumstances, Lou and John found that they had quite a lot in common Ė both big fans of fly-fishing and Michael Caine and having holidayed in the same area of Queensland as children Ė but Lou was anxious that Lolly was slowly being taken away from him, especially when Johnís wife, Sandy, showed an interest in meeting her. And so, one evening at Louís pub, he and Lolly went to meet John and Sandy, a meeting which went extremely well, unnerving Lou even further. A few days later, John visited Ramsay Street to see Lou and Lolly, only to find that the little girl was out at a birthday party. Instead, he stayed to chat to Lou about the situation, thanking him for making the difficult situation so much easier. That evening, John returned to lend Lou a book on fly-fishing, and, when Lou was suddenly called away to fill in at the pub, John agreed to mind Lolly for a few hours. Meanwhile, Lou became annoyed when he and Lolly then ran into Sandy at the Coffee Shop and, although she insisted that it was just a coincidence, Lou wasnít so sure. She later called into at Louís house to apologise for the earlier incident and went on to explain that she was unable to have children of her own, and this could be Johnís only chance to be a father.
When John suggested having dinner together, Lou turned the offer down, as he was beginning to feel smothered by the Allens and their presence in his life. However, when he saw Lolly drawing a picture of Goldie the puppy, he had a change of heart and asked John over. He then presented him with the idea of the Allens having access for one day each month, but John explained that he had hoped for more. After he had calmed down, Lou spoke to one of his neighbours, Tad Reeves, who had been adopted himself, and advised that Lolly should be allowed to get to know her natural father. As a result, Lou visited the Allens and offered them a few hours of visitation every other week, with John adding that he and Sandy would like to take over all of Lollyís babysitting duties. Lou again backed away and so John decided that heíd had enough of the stalling and was going to seek legal advice about formal access rights. After being advised to take another DNA test to confirm the original results, John visited Karl Kennedy, Louís G.P. As Karl was running late, John was left alone in his office for only a couple of minutes, but it was long enough for him to read Louís file and find out that he had suffered from a painkiller addiction earlier that year.
A few days later, John was chatting to Louís oldest friend, Harold Bishop, about the situation, when he suddenly mentioned the addiction and asked whether it was still a problem. Harold immediately reported this back to a shocked Lou, who confronted John. John admitted that he only had Lollyís best interests at heart, but had decided to apply for full custody of his daughter. The interim custody hearing then went ahead, with the decision made that it would be best for Lolly to stay with Lou for the time being, despite Johnís attempts to bring up Louís addiction, and John was given one overnight stay a week and visitation rights every other weekend. Lou quickly realised that he had a difficult battle on his hands when John then brought Lolly back late the morning after her first overnight visit, claiming that theyíd had to take Goldie to the vet. As John then attempted to change his access day in order to take Lolly to a kidsí show, Lou put his foot down. When the next access day ended badly, with Lolly cutting her hand and refusing to allow John to comfort her, everyone realised that the situation needed to be resolved quickly, but they were still shocked when the custody hearing was suddenly brought forward.
Confident that he could win, Lou refused Johnís requests to delay the hearing and the case went ahead. As Lolly spent the day watching The Wiggles perform at the Erinsborough Fair, John Allenís lawyer, Angela Patrick, ripped Lou to pieces, making him sound like a drug addict with little time for his daughter. Despite a last-minute plea from Lou, judge Bill Bains granted custody to the Allens. A few weeks later, John and Sandy moved away, with Lolly, to the country, guaranteeing that Lou would rarely get the chance to see his little girl, though, whenever he had the opportunity, he made sure to spend his holidays with her.
In the years that followed, John and Sandy successfully had two children on their own, Braiden and Keisha, through IVF treatment. In 2007, Lolly was playing up at school, and John and Sandy were facing problems in their marriage. Lolly was sent back to Erinsborough to stay with Lou for a few months, with Sandy occassionally visiting to help out. It was during one of Sandy's visit that it emerged that she had been psychologically and physically abusing Lolly for years, holding her repsonsible for the problems in her marriage and the constant reminder that John had cheated on her. When Lou realised what had been going on, he informed human services, and John, and Sandy returned home to face the final breakdown of her marriage, and the possibility that she would go to jail and have little contact with her longed-for biological children again.
Biography by Steve