By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo

Julia Baird, John Lennon's half-sister

JOHN Lennon’s sister has hit back at claims her brother was abandoned by their mother.

Speaking on what would have been his 68th birthday, Julia Baird said she was not happy about comments made in relation to a new film about John, which said he was a “lonely teenager abandoned by his mother”.

Julia was in the city to open a new exhibition celebrating Lennon’s life at The Beatles Story, at Albert Dock.

She said: “John is no longer around to defend himself from some of the bizarre, sordid and downright scurrilous rumours which still, sadly, surround his extraordinary life.

“It makes me so sad, especially in recent weeks, when all manner of accusations have been flying about.

“In 2007, I wrote a book, Imagine This, which was my attempt to tell the truth about John’s childhood.

“John was removed from our mother Julia at the age of five to live with his aunt Mimi. He was not abandoned nor was he unloved, despite what the accepted tale might be.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate once more the love our mother Julia had for both John and I.”

Julia was speaking at the opening of The Many Faces Of John Lennon, a photographic collection, which runs until March 9, 2009.