Sydney Morning Herald
23 February 2003

Barnes: Here's proof I'm not the father

By Candace Sutton and Annette Sharp

The saga of the rock star, the pianist, the stage mother and the baby came to a grinding halt yesterday when Jimmy Barnes issued a statement saying DNA tests proved he is not the father of Ambre Lyn Hammond's baby girl.

Hammond, 25, claimed by her mother Cara Lyn to be a musical prodigy, early this month took to Woman's Day magazine the story that six-month-old Baillie was the love child from a brief encounter with the rocker.

Hammond had already shown the baby around the Southern Highlands' town of Bowral, where Barnes and his family have lived on and off for years, telling shopkeepers and friends of the musician it was Barnes's child.

Barnes, 46, and his wife, Jane, have been married for 24 years and have four children aged between 13 and 20.

Yesterday Jimmy Barnes released a statement saying DNA tests prove he cannot be the father of the child and that he had requested tests before the publication of the magazine article.

"Ms Hammond and her baby eventually attended to provide samples on February 18," the statement, released through Barnes's lawyer, says.

"Jimmy is considering his position and obtaining legal advice. The way in which this unproven paternity claim has been made is a very serious matter.

"The paternity claim has now been scientifically proved false. It is extremely distressing for Jimmy and his family."

The editor-in-chief of Woman's Day, Philip Barker, said yesterday: "I could not possibly comment on that at the moment."

Ambre Lyn Hammond, who has worked as a waitress as well as a pianist in the past few years, is living in Sydney while her mother cares for the baby in the Southern Highlands.

Cara Lyn, also known as Carolyn Hammond, says she intends to dispute the DNA tests, saying Barnes failed to seal the envelope containing his specimen and also failed to sign an attached document.

It is understood Woman's Day is also interested in further tests being made.

Ms Lyn said Barnes also had refused to attend the Macquarie Street laboratory preferred by her daughter and had conducted his tests independently, casting doubt over definitive results.

Barnes's lawyer, Peter Thompson, yesterday said Ms Hammond's claim was "rubbish" and the tests were properly conducted.

Ms Lyn said her daughter, Ambre Lyn, was "shocked" by the results announced by the Barnes family.

"Ambre is really knocked around by this," she said. "She absolutely knows there was no one other than him sexually and at the moment she feels that she hates him.

"All she wants to do is focus on her career. We really don't care who the daddy is. The baby is absolutely adorable. If for some reason it isn't his, well I don't know. Ambre just can't work it out. She's truly baffled."

Ambre Lyn Hammond first made the daily newspapers in 1981, as a three-year-old whose mother had taught her to read. By five, Hammond was giving her first piano concerts and her mother took her out of school to complete her education at home. At 12, she became the youngest person to receive the Australian Music Examinations Board licentiate diploma, and four years later she won an international music competition.

Hammond set up her own recording company at 16 and her mother, then called Carolyn Crawford, entered her in the Miss Australia contest with a press release describing Ambre Lyn as having "the appearance of a Baywatch babe crossed with a Spice Girl but the genius of Rachmaninoff ...".

Mother and daughter, then living at Moss Vale, met Barnes and family, who were living at Bowral.

Ms Hammond became pregnant in late 2001.

Ms Lyn refused to give up her quest to name Jimmy Barnes as father of her grandchild.

"I won't let it rest until we've determined he is the father," Ms Lyn said. "Quite frankly I'd like to get a piece of his hair."

Copyright  © 2003. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Which prompted the following response from Australian Brian Taylor:

The new Messiah is with us, and not a minute too soon.

Ambre Lyn Hammond claims that Jimmy Barnes is the father of her six month old baby, and rejects DNA tests which show he isn't. What's more, her claims that she had sex with no-one other than Barnes around the time of conception leave only the disturbing probability of immaculate conception.

Whilst no foreign kings nor unusual celstial objects had been noticed over Hammond's Central Highlads home last August, the possibility should not be discounted. It may be the ultimate honour to be the mother of God, but practicality suggests that Barnes is a better bet for child support payments. It's one thing to have your likeness revered by millions of people, but it doesn't pay for the Pampers. Presuming of course that the baby despoils his vestments just like mortals.

If the child is not the new Messiah, then having Barnes for a father might just run a close second for many admirers of that working-class man.

Brian Taylor