A “SECRET daughter” at the centre of a bitter £20,000 child support row has demanded an oil rigger take a DNA test to prove he isn’t her dad.
Ross Mclaughlan, 55, from Stockton-on-Tees, has been paying child support for 21-year-old “daughter” Natasha Bell for the past eight years – and insists he never knew she existed.
But Natasha’s mum Angie Nelson, 52, from Hartlepool has rubbished his claims saying he has “known all along he was the father”.
To date Ross has had £10,000 deducted from his wages and been told he owes a further £10,000. But having lost his job he is now refusing to pay any more money.
He said he had no recollection of Angie and, in a bitter feud, described her as a “money grabbing b****” and told the Sun Online he would never take a DNA test.
But now Natasha has spoken out over his claims, telling the Daily Mail: “If he’s so sure he’s not my dad, why won’t he take a DNA test to prove it?
“He says it would breach his human rights, but what about my human rights to know who my father is?”
WON’T TAKE DNA TEST
But Ross has said he will never take a DNA test, revealing: “The reason I won’t take a DNA test is because I don’t know of any reason why [I should].
“I’ve had no contact with the mother or child and when I checked it out, the child’s parents were boldly on the birth certificate. End of issue.
“I won’t have a DNA test. Not ever. There is a birth certificate saying exactly what the DNA test is asking. It’s pretty simple, that’s the declaration of parentage.
“The money-grabbing b**** just wants to disrespect the declaration of parentage, the birth certificate, so she can claim somebody else’s money. She would need security to stop me from punching her because she’s ruined my career.”
Angie has described his claims as “nonsense” and said Ross had always known about his “daughter”.
DAUGHTER BORN IN 1997
She said she became pregnant during a brief affair with Ross and gave birth to their daughter in June 1997.
She told the Sun Online: “I told him that I was pregnant and the baby was his, he knew she’d been born and I’ve even spoken to him since.
“I know for certain he’s her dad and he knows it too. The whole thing is nonsense. There is no need for a DNA test because there is no doubt [he is the father].
“For him to say he had no knowledge and to go public with it is appalling because he’s dragged Natasha into something she never wanted to involved with.
“He’s lucky the money is not back dated all the way back up when she was born because he’s known about her since then.”
Natasha, who has found herself at the centre of the dispute, added: “I do understand that he might be hurt by the way things have happened but my mum was not sure who my father was until I took the DNA test.
“I do wonder why, when he found out from the Child Support Agency that he had a child and started paying maintenance, he didn’t get in touch.”
‘WON’T PAY ANYMORE’
For his part Ross, who has never married, is adamant he has no memory of Angie and said it was a “money making scam”.
He told the Sun Online: “These people are money-hunting cheats. No way am I paying anymore for someone else’s child, no way.
“They’ve denied my rights, taken my wages, taken away my pension and I’ve lost my job. It’s disgusting how they have done this. It’s only about their money and greed.
“I’m livid that these people can do this to another person.”
The saga started eight years ago when Ross received a letter from the Child Maintenance Service informing him he was dad to Natasha, for whom he was financially responsible.
At first he tried to ignore it but then, worried that kicking up a fuss might land him in trouble with his job, he paid up the £100 a month sum.
However, four years ago Ross got another letter from the CMS telling him the amount he had to fork out was increasing to £320 a month, leaving him with an income of £900, after tax.
At that point Ross requested a copy of Natasha’s birth certificate where he found the section headed “father” didn’t have his name on it, but instead a man with the same surname as Natasha and Angie.
He wrote to the CMS hoping that would be enough to help resolve the issue.
But they wrote back to him saying that wasn’t sufficient proof that man was Natasha’s biological dad and so the money continued to come out of his account.
When Natasha turned 21, the organisation informed him he owed a further £10k in retrospective payments.
A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions, which oversees the CMS, said he could not discuss individual cases but added: “We notify people before making deductions to ensure they have a chance to contest parentage. When parentage is disputed we look for conclusive proof such as a DNA test or a court declaration.
“A birth certificate can be used as evidence, but would be discounted if there’s a suggestion that it’s unreliable.”
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Angie said she was married at the time of the affair with Ross and thought her husband was the father.
The couple split when Natasha was a toddler.
Some years later her ex-husband, suspecting the girl was not his, requested a DNA test, which confirmed his suspicions.
He confirmed he had insisted on a DNA test but said he’d never heard of Ross.
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