Harriet Wran outside Wyong police station on Wednesday after her arrest for drug possession. Picture: 9 News
Harriet Wran outside Wyong police station on Wednesday after her arrest for drug possession. Picture: 9 News

From farm haven to new drug hell for Harriet Wran

THE brief respite from Har­riet Wran's narcotics nightmare in the idyllic surrounds of her family farm ended on Wednesday with the daughter of one of NSW's longest-serving premiers facing drug possession charges.

The unwavering love of her mother Jill Hickson Wran brought the private schoolgirl who had the world at her feet back from the brink of ­bulimia, helped her battle ­bipolar disorder and sup­ported her through stints in drug rehab.

 

Wran admitted, after her release from prison, that her recovery would continue to be difficult. Picture: 9 News
Wran admitted, after her release from prison, that her recovery would continue to be difficult. Picture: 9 News


The respected publisher still had her daughter's back when the recovering ice add­ict came back from a descent into a drug-fuelled hell and walked out of Silverwater Jail in September 2016 after serving time for robbery and being an accessory after the fact to murder.

But the woman who went from a gilded upbringing in the elite eastern suburbs as the daughter of NSW Labor premier Neville Wran to ­battling addiction on the streets was arrested in a white Holden Colorado at a Wyong petrol station at 1.30am ­on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old's arrest came after officers allegedly saw her ute coming out of a deserted industrial estate in Lucca St, Wyong.

Jill Wran supports her daughter following her release from Silverwater Women’s Correctional Facility in September 2016. Picture: Renee Nowytarger
Jill Wran supports her daughter following her release from Silverwater Women’s Correctional Facility in September 2016. Picture: Renee Nowytarger

The highway patrol car signalled for her to pull over into a nearby service station and as the two officers ­approached, a male passenger ran off in bushland, dumping a large amount of mail stolen from Newcastle, Sydney and the Central Coast as he ran.

Wran was charged with possessing a prohibited drug and goods in custody after police allegedly found syringes protruding from a pocket under her jumper and a small quantity of crystal substance.

They also allegedly found stolen laptops, credit cards and mobile phones.

The service station in North Wyong where police arrested Harriet Wran. Picture: Richard Noone
The service station in North Wyong where police arrested Harriet Wran. Picture: Richard Noone

While the Supreme Court judge who sentenced her in 2016, Justice Ian Harrison, said he had "no concern" she would reoffend, Harriet herself knew that her health was precarious and her battle was going to be tough.

"I'm still very much in ­recovery," she said as she left jail two-and-a-half years ago, her mother leaning on her shoulder.

"It's going to be a long ­process and it's going to be hard," she added.

Harriet Wran's descent from privileged to purgatory.
Harriet Wran's descent from privileged to purgatory.

Since then she had been living between Woollahra and the tranquil 50ha farm her late father and mother bought at Ravensdale on the Central Coast with her two dogs, Muscovy and yellow-billed Pekin ducks she called her pets while running weekend horse-coaching sessions for local kids.

The farm at Ravensdale which had proved a sanctuary for Wran following her release from jail. Picture: Richard Noone
The farm at Ravensdale which had proved a sanctuary for Wran following her release from jail. Picture: Richard Noone

She signed up for a three-year agribusiness degree at the University of New England and had been volunteering at Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown's clinic.

Harriet told the court during her sentencing hearing how much she relied on animals to help her relax: "I adore animals and I missed them so much in jail."

Wran enjoyed horseriding after she was released from prison. Picture: Facebook
Wran enjoyed horseriding after she was released from prison. Picture: Facebook

Tony Trimingham of the Family Drug Support Group, who had been counselling Harriet's family, was on Wednesday rocked by the arrest.

He would not comment on Wran's case but said that generally as devastating as it was, lapses were common because addicts can never escape the craving for the drug.

"No matter how much you know it's not good for you, you go back to it all the time, there's always an emotional and psychological craving," Mr Trimingham said.

Wran showed off a healthy new look in 2017. Picture: Facebook
Wran showed off a healthy new look in 2017. Picture: Facebook

He said while he could not comment on Harriet's situation, how families responded to the lapse determined the future.

"If you see it as the end of the world and the person as a failure, that's how they will see themselves," he said.

"If you see it as a hiccup, as a glitch, you won't lose everything you have gained and you can get back on track."

Wran outside her Woollahra home in 2017.
Wran outside her Woollahra home in 2017.

Wran spent 759 days in jail after pleading guilty to wounding, robbery and being an accessory after the fact to the murder of small-time drug dealer Daniel McNulty at a seedy Redfern drug den in 2014.

A charge of murder was dropped. Her parole expired on ­August 12 last year.

Her then-boyfriend of just two weeks, Michael Lee, who stabbed McNulty to death, was jailed for a minimum of 13 years.

The former Church of ­England Grammar School pupil had dabbled in drugs at Sydney University where she got a diploma in journalism.

However, her father's death in 2014 sent her into a downward spiral, her sentencing hearing was told.

Wran being escorted from the NSW Supreme Court in June 2016. Picture: AAP
Wran being escorted from the NSW Supreme Court in June 2016. Picture: AAP

Justice Harrison said her mental health problems had begun years earlier.

"It is sadly, but relevantly, apparent that Ms Wran's mental health travails are not of recent or convenient origin, but are problems that have affected and influenced her progress and development since well before she ­entered high school," the judge said.

"She has suffered considerably for some time and is likely to require medical ­intervention for the indefinite future."

Jill and Neville Wran with baby Harriet in 1988. Picture: John Hawryluk
Jill and Neville Wran with baby Harriet in 1988. Picture: John Hawryluk

He described her as intelligent, emotionally sensitive, kind with a love of animals.

"I have no concern that Ms Wran will reoffend," Justice Harrison said. "Her significant challenge will be to arrest her mental health issues and associated drug addiction. That addiction was of longstanding and well entrenched when she entered into custody in August 2014."

Wran speaks at her father Neville’s State Funeral at Sydney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Taylor
Wran speaks at her father Neville’s State Funeral at Sydney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Taylor

Wran has been granted bail to appear at Wyong Local Court on Wednesday, April 3. Her conditions include a curfew between 8pm and 8am unless she is in the company of her mother and living at the Ravensdale property.

The male passenger has not been found.

On the farm with one of her beloved dogs. Picture: Facebook
On the farm with one of her beloved dogs. Picture: Facebook
Wran in a prison vehicle after an appearance at the Supreme Court in 2016. Picture: John Grainger
Wran in a prison vehicle after an appearance at the Supreme Court in 2016. Picture: John Grainger
The couple with their baby girl in 1988 Picture: Geoff Henderson
The couple with their baby girl in 1988 Picture: Geoff Henderson
Hugo Wran with sister Harriet following their father Neville’s State Funeral in 2014. Picture: AAP
Hugo Wran with sister Harriet following their father Neville’s State Funeral in 2014. Picture: AAP