Sleaford

Sleaford woman jailed over baby abduction

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A Lincolnshire woman abducted a baby and took her to Ireland in breach of a court order, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

The woman, together with her partner, who cannot be named due to a court order to protect the child’s identity, entered the house where the child was living as part of a care order and took her away in the middle of the night.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said that the couple drove to Stranraer and took a ferry to Northern Ireland. The pair then travelled to the Republic of Ireland with the five-month-old girl.

The woman subsequently turned up at a Gardai Station in the Republic where she gave herself in and handed over the child to the authorities.

The 23-year-old woman from the Sleaford area admitted a charge of taking a child aged under 16 out of the United Kingdom between April 18 and 21 2018. She was jailed for 12 months.

Judge Simon Hirst, passing sentence, told the woman that under the terms of an interim care order the child was not to be removed from the United Kingdom without permission from the court.

He said: “You knew perfectly well that you should not be taking this child [from where she was living] let alone out of the country.”

He said the child had been “significantly damaged” by the experience.

The judge added: “It seems to me impossible to suspend the inevitable custodial sentence.”

Marie Spenwyn, in mitigation, said that the defendant acted out of panic as she feared she would not see the child again.

“She did not think about the consequences.”

Miss Spenwyn said the 23-year-old had a complicated history of mental health problems and in the days before her sentencing hearing had been at a psychiatric unit.