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Alisha Horan’s father Alan hits back at AFL legend Gary Ablett Sr interview

The father of Alisha Horan has hit back at Gary Ablett Sr after the AFL legend broke his silence on her death two decades ago.

Ablett was partying with the 20-year-old, a fan of the retired footballer, in February 2000 when she overdosed on drugs in his Melbourne hotel room.

The coroner later found Horan might have survived at the end of the five-day bender if Ablett could have helped her.

He now says he wished he had died that day but the young woman’s father Alan has told 7NEWS he hopes Ablett is still suffering.

“Really transparent and honest, there’s been times, especially when, with moral failure some 20 years ago where I was involved in drugs and there was a young lady that overdosed,” Ablett told Reclink Australia.

“I can’t tell you how much that shattered me, how much it broke me as a person. It still grieves me to this day.

“It’s only been my relationship with Jesus Christ that has got me through, because of His unconditional love and acceptance and knowing that if I repent and I’m genuinely sorry for what I’ve done.

Gary Ablett of the Cats in action during the round 13 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground 1995. Credit: Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images

“He forgives me because. He’s paid for it all on the cross. Without him, I couldn’t have kept going.

“After that happened I didn’t want to be here for a number of years and I said to God, ‘you should have taken me instead’. It’s been a very painful experience.

“If only I could go back in time and change things I would. Unfortunately we don’t get that opportunity.

“That’s why I’m learning… that’s why choices in life are so important because once we’ve made a choice or a decision, we don’t get the chance to go back in time and change it.”

Dad’s heartache

The interview left Horan’s father too upset to appear on camera, but he was clearly furious.

Alan told 7NEWS he felt Ablett’s remarks were no apology.

“I was sickened,” Alan said, describing Ablett as a “lying bastard”.

“I hope he’s still suffering.”

Alan, who said he wants to put Ablett behind him, showed 7NEWS photos of his daughter that still hang on his wall.

This picture of Alisha Horan still hangs on her father Alan's wall.
This picture of Alisha Horan still hangs on her father Alan’s wall. Credit: 7NEWS

In the interview, Ablett said he was speaking out in the hope of encouraging others not to go down the same path he did while dealing with mental health problems.

“No one likes emotional pain – especially long-term – and it’s so easy to want to turn to things to numb our pain, to escape reality,” he said.

“But the problem is when the drugs wear off and the alcohol wears off, we not only wake up with a hangover, our problems are back worse than ever often because what we’ve done while we’ve been on the drugs or on the drink can add more pain, or even shame, to our lives.

“We need to make sure that we get our decisions right the first time – that’s been a big lesson for me. I just wish I had have known that a lot earlier.”

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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