A MOTHER who took her twin daughters out of the United Kingdom to Zimbabwe in defiance of a court order was starting an 18-month jail sentence Thursday.

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The woman – a well-educated professional with a responsible job from Wolverhampton – secretly got passports for the two-year-old girls and took them on a flight to Zimbabwe.

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Police were tipped off too late to stop the trio leaving the UK but got a message to the relevant authorities before the plane landed in Dubai at the end of the first leg of the journey.

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The mother and the twins were taken off the flight and returned to the UK where British justice finally caught up with her after she admitted child abduction.

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She had been desperate to start a family and finally gave birth after IVF treatment only to discover the father was married to somebody else, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

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The relationship “rapidly became acrimonious” after the couple broke up in February and a family court was asked to decide the future of the twins, explained Andrew Wilkins, prosecuting.

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The mother was given temporary custody of the girls while her ex-partner was granted limited access to them. She was banned from leaving the country with the children and ordered to hand in her passport.

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But she got Zimbabwe travel documents for herself and the children just weeks later and jetted out of Britain with them on June 17.

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The woman was worried about their safety because of the father’s behaviour and she did not have legal aid and thought the family court were ignoring her concerns, said Stephen Bailey, defending.

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He added: “She was stressed, confused and on her own.

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“Then she heard her father was seriously ill. She had a mental meltdown during which she took a reckless, criminal decision.

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“It was not done in a cold, calculated way. It was the result of frustration with the court system. She had no set plan and was not going to Zimbabwe for ever.”

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Judge Amjad Nawaz jailed the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and said: “There is no proof of your father’s illness.

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“You wanted to thwart the court order and secretly obtained passports to take the girls out of their jurisdiction. The message must go out that there are consequences if people behave like that.

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“You did not want your former partner to have their custody but that is exactly what has been achieved by your foolish and criminal act.

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“Now sadly you have to convince a family court that you can be trusted with your children in future.”

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The post Zimbabwea mother jailed in UK for abducting her twins appeared first on The Zimbabwe Mail.