April 1, 2022 1.02 pm

Jail for dad who abducted daughter from cot over care order fears

He cannot be named in order to protect his daughter’s identity

A father who abducted his young daughter from her Lincoln home and took her to Ireland has been jailed for 18 months, a court heard today.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the child was taken from her cot at her grandmother’s address in April 2018.

A note found in the cot disclosed she had been removed by both of her parents because they feared she was about to be adopted.

The court was told an interim care order had been placed on the child by a judge three months earlier which meant it was illegal to take her out of England or Wales without the consent of the local authority.

The order was made after medical staff raised concerns the little girl had been presented at hospital in January 2018 with “fabricated” symptoms.

As part of the order the child was allowed to live with her grandmother who rang 999 after she discovered her missing from her cot on April 20, 2018.

AMPR cameras showed the child was driven north by both of her parents to Durham and then Stranraer in Scotland where they caught a ferry to Northern Ireland.

They then crossed the border into the Republic of Ireland where they handed the child into a Garda police station after two days.

The girl’s mother voluntarily returned to the UK in September 2018 and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment after being arrested at East Midlands Airport.

However, the girl’s father remained in Ireland for nearly four years and was collected by police officers in January this year after co-operating with a European arrest warrant.

The 27-year-old, who can not be named because of an order protecting his daughter’s identity, then appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court where he admitted a charge of child abduction.

Sunil Khanna, mitigating, said the girl’s parents decided to take her to Ireland after trying to fight the interim care order and receiving bogus legal advice that she was about to be adopted.

“He drove her to Ireland where they hoped they may be treated more favourably,” Mr Khanna told the court.

“He accepts that it was wrong to do this while she was under an interim care order, but at the time he thought he was doing the right thing.”

Mr Khanna added that the child was quickly handed over to the authorities once they arrived in the Republic of Ireland.

He has since then established a new life and job in Dublin, the court heard.

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst told the girl’s father he had to pass a longer jail sentence than that passed on her mother because she had quickly and voluntarily returned to the UK.

Judge Hirst said the impact on the child was that she had to be placed with foster parents in the Republic of Ireland for five months before a court decided she could be returned to this country.

“Ferry tickets were purchased, you drove to the ferry, crossed by ferry to Northern Ireland, and then crossed the border,” Judge Hirst added.