Four Australian children, caught in a custody battle, will be returned to their mother in Australia. The children are currently in the care of their father in England.
A British family court judge ruled that the four children at the centre of the battle must leave the UK and return to their mother in Australia.
Reportedly all four children, ranging in ages between nine and thirteen, wanted to stay with their father in England. The youngest, a nine-year-old boy, said he missed the “spiders and the snakes” in Australia but preferred living in Britain.
Judge Clifford Bellamy found that the children were habitually resident in Australia and had been wrongfully retained in England by their wealthy father – a financial consultant – following the breakdown of their parent’s marriage.
He concluded that the children – a girl and three boys aged between nine and 13 – had been living in a “bubble of respite” and said their father had created a “climate based on negativity towards their mother”.
The judge, who sits in Leicester, announced his decision in a written ruling following a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.
Although the family had not been identified it is known that both parents are 38 and English. Ballamy said the children had been born in England and the family moved to live in Australia eight years ago.
The man left after having an affair and returned to England, while the woman and the children stayed in Australia. The children visited their father in England for a two-month holiday late last year and had not been returned.
Judge Bellamy said the woman had then taken legal action and asked for the children’s “summary return” to Australia.