Jun 02, 2015
Court bans Afghanistan abduction father from entering East Riding after three children are returned to their mother

A High Court judge has revealed the heartbreak behind a mother’s battle to be reunited with her three children.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, approached the Driffield office of Hull firm Williamsons Solicitors about the breakdown of her marriage and arrangements for her three children

However, in a shocking turn of events, their father abducted them to Afghanistan. The youngest was only two months old.

And 17 months passed before they were found and brought home.

“It is hard to imagine a worse pain than losing your children to abduction,” said Williamsons solicitor Zoe Atkinson who took on the case. “There were real fears their mother would not see them again.”

In an anonymised judgment in the England and Wales Family Court, before Mr Justice Keehan, which is now on the public record, it was stated that the couple married in 2001, but that in February 2013 the father told the mother to leave their home, which was in London, and drove her to her parents’ home in East Yorkshire where he left her.

An order was subsequently made preventing him from removing the children from the jurisdiction of England and Wales, but he then took them to Afghanistan with the help of family members and was jailed for five and a half years on his return, on three counts of child abduction.

Mr Justice Keehan said he had no doubt that, in his own way, the father deeply loved his children, but that his deeply ingrained and visceral hatred of the mother would be emotionally and psychologically damaging to them if they became aware of his views.

The court maintained an exclusion order on the father, who is due for release next March, preventing his entering the East Riding of Yorkshire. The father had said he was educated in Hull and had friends in the city.

Miss Atkinson said: ” The mother had no information as to the whereabouts of the children or who was looking after them, and her husband refused to divulge any information

“As time passed fears grew as to the prospects of successfully recovering the children.

“We contacted an American lawyer, Kim Motley, who works in Afghanistan. She agreed to take on the case and help our client ‘on the ground’.”

Incredibly, 17 months after the abduction, the children were found by the authorities in Afghanistan and flown home by Ms Motley to be reunited with their mother.

“This has been a fantastic team effort from all concerned to find these children and bring them home where they belong,” said Miss Atkinson. “The work Ms Motley did in Afghanistan to help was outstanding. The children are reported to be settling back in their mother’s care very well.

“Parental abduction is unfortunately increasing and hopefully this story will bring some hope for other parents involved in similar desperate situations.”

Mr Justice Keehan said: “They need to recover from the trauma they suffered on being separated from their mother and primary carer.

“They need to recover from the care they received when in Afghanistan, which has been referred to in terms of being less than loving and kind.”

Donations towards legal fees can be made at:http://www.gofundme.com/v2ar3h9s