Father who breached court order and disappeared with son handed four-month jail sentence

A father who breached a court order and disappeared with his four-year-old son has been jailed, reports have revealed.

Earlier this year, a Family Court judge ruled that the child should live with his mother and made an order allowing the father, who is in his 40s, to see his son on certain days.

But the man, from Gateshead, breached the order after disappearing with his son for seven days in July following litigation with the mother.

A nationwide search and public appeal followed, before the father and son were found in Dunblane, Scotland.

Ruling this week, a High Court judge said the severity and “planned nature” of the abduction warranted a four-month jail sentence.

The written ruling described the incident as a “planned purposeful breach of a court order” after discovering that the father had borrowed a car from a friend a month before the abduction took place.

The ruling also notes that the father did not answer his phone and ensured that he had “disappeared digitally”, adding that the father would have known that the police were searching for him through radio and news broadcasts.

“His reasons for the abduction were that he had been involved in the family proceedings for three years,” said Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, presiding over the case.

“He said he had found them extremely difficult and believed that he was being removed from his son’s life. The judge had agreed with his ex-partner and not with him. He said he felt traumatised by the proceedings, and they had had a profound effect upon him.

“An immediate custodial order is the only appropriate sentence reflecting the gravity of the contempt.”

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at alison.green@mackrell.com

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Alison Green
Alison joined Mackrell.Solicitors in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in the firm in 2010. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.