A Welsh woman who went missing with four of her five children after a judge ordered their immediate return to Spain has been found in Gwent, according to police.
Welsh police announced the discovery on Twitter this morning, noting: “Police now working with family and authorities to ensure their ongoing safety.”
Speaking yesterday, High Court Judge the Rt Hon Mr Justice Roderic Wood had appealed to the public for help in tracing 46 year-old Jennifer Jones, who had disappeared with the four children, aged between 8 and 14, from her their home in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, on Monday night. She was thought to be travelling with her new boyfriend.
The judge had announced: “I am very concerned about the children…They must be found. I ask anyone who knows where they are or might have seen them to tell this court or the local police.”
Mrs Jones has been involved in a bitter custody dispute with the children’s father – 52 year old Majorca resident Tomas Palacin Cambra – since 2008, when she left him. He was granted custody but she failed to return the children following a visit.
Mrs Jones then applied to the High Court for permission to keep the children in the UK but this was refused by the Hon Mr Justice Hedley at the High Court last week. He ordered her to return the children to Majorca by midnight on Friday but she did not do so. She was also ordered to attend a High Court hearing on Monday. At this she argued for Mr Justice Hedley’s order to be set aside, but Mr Justice Wood declined to do so and ordered that the children be removed from their mother’s care immediately.
However, when police and social workers went to her home in the early hours of Tuesday, she found that the mother and children had disappeared.
Alerts were issued to airports and ports.
The couple’s eldest daughter – 16 year-old Sara – has already returned voluntarily to Spain.
Mr Palacin Cambra said of the children: “I am very worried for their well-being. Their lives are here in Spain, their friends are here, they are very happy here.”
Taking children without the consent of the other parent is a criminal offence under the Child Abduction Act 1984. In addition, the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 introduced the international Hague Convention into UK law.
The Hague Convention currently has 88 signatories, including Britain. It allows those countries which have signed up to agree to the return of children abducted between them, from the country in which they normally live, as quickly as possible and in a way that will cause the least harm.
Speaking on ITV show Daybreak this morning, Marilyn Stowe said Mrs Jones must obey the law and return the children as soon as possible.
“If we expect children who are abducted from England to be returned by other courts, so we must show that we will return children who have been abducted to the courts of other countries.”