UK Social Services Seize Baby By Going To France- Daily Mail Newspaper- Exclusive News Story- ***April 2012***

This story shone a light on how a British couple who moved to France had their baby seized by social workers and brought to Norfolk.

We were contacted by the parents who wanted us to expose what was going on in the family courts.

The mother was accused of sexual abuse by social services but the police have said there's no case to answer.

We have highlighted the issue in the Daily Mail newspaper.

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Heartbreak: The couple have had their newborn baby daughter taken away by Norfolk Social Services despite moving to France

Heartbreak: The couple have had their newborn baby daughter taken away by Norfolk Social Services despite moving to France

A British couple told yesterday how social workers travelled to France to seize their newborn baby after they moved to the country.

Officials intervened after accusations that the mother's five other children had suffered physical and sexual abuse.

But the woman and her partner say the claims emerged only after the youngsters had been taken into care at her request during a period of personal and financial upheaval.

Now they have begun a legal battle to have their four-week-old girl returned to them.

The couple say they were told to attend a court near their home for an 'informal meeting' following a hearing in front of a French judge they had not been informed about.

When they arrived, they were taken into a room guarded by six gendarmes and a British social worker ordered them to hand over their baby.

The mother said: 'It was just awful. We went into a room and I breastfed my baby for the last time. I placed her in her pushchair and walked away. What else could I do?

'We saw her in a contact centre three times after that but she was then taken to England. We have no idea when we'll see her again.'

She added: 'They have now taken away all six of my children and I have done nothing wrong.

'You read about these horror stories where over-zealous social workers steal someone's kids and think it can't be true. But it is. No one has presented any hard evidence about the abuse my five older children supposedly suffered. But they were taken away from me and on that basis my baby was considered to be "at risk".'

The woman's husband was jailed for 12 months in 2007 after he assaulted her and one of their children.

She moved from her home town in Norfolk and started a relationship with another man. But when he also started to show violent behaviour she moved in with a friend before Norfolk social services moved the family into a hotel in early 2010.

Relying on child benefit to pay for food and the taxis needed to transport her children, all aged under 10, to different schools, she struggled to manage and eventually allowed her abusive husband to give his support.

'I know it was not the best thing to do but I had no choice,' the mother said. 'I was desperate.'

When social services found out, she says they threatened to take her children away. In desperation, she suggested they arranged care for them while she found a new home and a job.

The woman said she was told they would be looked after for a maximum of eight weeks. But she was still asking for them to be returned six months later when she was told they had made claims of sexual abuse against a number of family, friends, teachers and even other children.

In August last year a judge at Norwich County Court levelled criticisms against the mother, including that she was still 'in the thrall' of former partners and that she had lied about having a heart condition when she was absent one day during court proceedings. She later admitted to the court it was due to complications with her pregnancy. She said yesterday she did not want to reveal she was expecting again.

The judge raised severe reservations about the case presented about the alleged abuse but went on to rule that there had been physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

The mother still had the option to appeal but says she had realised social workers would never allow her to be reunited with her children.

By now she was with another man, a childhood friend who was the father of her unborn child, and she took up his offer to start a new life by moving to his mother's home in south-west France.

They relocated in November last year and she gave birth to their daughter in February.

Within days, social workers had obtained a UK court order stating the child was 'at risk of significant harm' and requesting the French authorities to assist returning it to Britain.

A legal source involved in the case said: 'The court claims the baby was subject to its jurisdiction in the UK because the mother had no intention of living in France and was just there to escape social services.'

Lisa Christensen, director of children's services at Norfolk Council, said: 'The decision to remove a baby from his or her natural parents is only ever taken by the court after a thorough assessment of the child's welfare and need for protection.'

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